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Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) (Wales) Act 2018

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Vaughan Gething, Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Services
Rebecca Evans, Minister for Social Services and Public Health
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The Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) (Wales) Act 2018 received Royal Assent on 9 August 2018.  

Why we need the Act:

Although we are making important progress, levels of hazardous and harmful drinking in Wales remain too high. According to National Survey data, nearly one in five adults are drinking above weekly guidelines and we are continuing to see the impacts of this. In 2016, there were 504 alcohol-related deaths in Wales, which are 41 more deaths than in 2015. All alcohol-attributable deaths are avoidable deaths, demonstrating the urgency for further action and further progress. 

What the Act aims to do:

The Act aims to protect the health of hazardous and harmful drinkers, who tend to consume greater amounts of low-cost and high-alcohol content products and who experience the most alcohol-related harm. It reflects a firm commitment to further improving and protecting the health of the population of Wales. It is part of a wider and continuing programme of work to address the harms associated with the excessive consumption of alcohol. 

It means that the Welsh Ministers can introduce a minimum price for the sale and supply of alcohol in Wales. The price of alcohol matters and is a method of reducing excessive consumption. 

The Act will:

Introduce a minimum price for the sale and supply of alcohol in Wales and make it an offence for alcohol to be sold or supplied below that price. 

Specifically, the Act

  • sets out the formula for calculating the applicable minimum price for alcohol by multiplying the percentage strength of the alcohol, its volume  and the minimum unit price 
  • gives powers for Welsh Ministers to make subordinate legislation to specify the minimum unit price 
  • establishes a local authority-led enforcement regime with powers to issue fixed penalty notices and to bring prosecutions  
  • gives powers of entry and inspection to authorised officers of local authorities and creates  offences relating to the obstruction of authorised officers when exercising those powers
  • requires the Welsh Ministers after an initial 5 year period to lay before the National Assembly for Wales a report on the operation and effect of the legislation during that period
  • provides for the minimum pricing regime established by the Act to cease to have effect 6 years from the date on which the offence of selling or supplying alcohol below the minimum price comes into force, unless regulations are made before then, providing otherwise.
Work is now underway to implement the detail of the Act.