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Improving health
Previously NHS Health Scotland

We are taking a theory-based approach to the evaluation of minimum unit pricing (MUP). 

Our theory of change is currently available as a separate document.

There are currently 12 studies funded through our work. We refer to these as the MESAS-funded studies because they are part of our work Monitoring and Evaluating Scotland’s Alcohol Strategy (MESAS)

There are four outcome areas

  • Implementation and compliance. Assessing whether MUP was complied with, barrier and facilitators to implementation and public attitudes to MUP.
  • Alcoholic drinks industry. Assessing how the alcohol industry responds to MUP and the economic impact on the alcohol industry in Scotland
  • Consumption. Assessing the impact of MUP on alcohol consumption in Scotland, including where people get their alcohol from, and changes in consumption differ by age, sex, deprivation and pattern of drinking.
  • Health and social harms. Assessing changes in a number of alcohol harms, including alcohol-related hospital admissions and deaths; harms to children and young people; alcohol-related crime and disorder; and unintended harms such as increased consumption of other harmful substances, as a result of MUP.

Many studies contribute to more than one outcome area and each outcome area will be evidenced by a number of studies. We will use data obtained/collected from other sources to inform our final assessment of the impact of MUP on outcomes.

These studies are listed below.  

  1. Compliance
    (Implementation and compliance)
  2. Economic impact on the alcoholic drinks industry
    (Alcoholic drinks industry)
  3. Small retailers
    (Alcoholic drinks industry)
  4. Alcohol price distribution
    (Implementation and compliance, Alcohol drinks industry)
  5. Alcohol products and prices
    (Alcoholic drinks industry)
  6. Sales based consumption
    (Alcoholic drinks industry, Consumption)
  7. Drinking at harmful levels
    (Implementation and compliance, Consumption, Health and social harms)
  8. Children and young people: Own drinking and related behaviour
    (Implementation and compliance, Consumption, Health and social harms)
  9. Hospital admissions and deaths
    (Health and social harms)
  10. Crime, public safety and public nuisance
    (Health and social harms)
  11. Children and young people: Harm from others
    (Health and social harms)
  12. Public attitudes to MUP
    (Implementation and compliance)

You can find information on each outcome area and the MESAS-funded studies below.

This outcome area will assess whether MUP is complied with and any barriers or facilitators to compliance. We also hope to assess changes in the public’s attitude to MUP.

There are three studies contributing to this outcome area.

1. Compliance (Licensing)

We have assessed implementation compliance with MUP from the perspectives and experiences of practitioners working in inspection and enforcement. It aimed to provide a broad overview of compliance, and related issues, with the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012 among licensed premises. In time, we will also look at any published data on compliance and national licensing statistics when they become available. 

You will find more information on this study on the Compliance page.

4. Alcohol price distribution

We will assess the impact of MUP on the volume of alcohol sold in the Scottish off-trade at different prices. We have obtained weekly data on this from Nielsen, a market research company. We will compare changes in Scotland to England and Wales, where MUP has not been introduced. 

This study will also contribute to the Alcoholic drinks industry outcome area.

You will find more information on this study on the Alcohol price distribution page.

12. Public attitudes to MUP

We used data from the 2013, 2015 and 2019 waves of the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey (SSAS) to assess the public’s attitudes to MUP before and after implementation. We commissioned the same questions on MUP in 2019 that were asked in previous years. This study contributes to the Implementation and compliance outcome area. This study focuses on the Scottish public’s attitudes towards MUP before and after implementation.

You will find more information on the Public attitudes page.

This outcome area will assess how the alcohol industry responds to MUP and the economic impact of it on the alcoholic drinks industry in Scotland.

There are five studies contributing to this outcome area.

2. Economic impact on the alcoholic drinks industry

We have commissioned Frontier Economics to assess the economic impact of MUP across the alcoholic drinks industry in Scotland.

They are doing this by analysing routine data and carrying out case studies and interviews with key stakeholders.  

They have also interviewed retailers on either side of the Scotland-England border to explore whether they think people are going to England to buy alcohol.  

You will find more information on this study on the Economic impact page.

3. Small retailers

We commissioned The University of Stirling to assess the impact of MUP on the price, product range and promotion of alcohol sold in small convenience stores in Scotland. This will include exploring small retailer’s experience of MUP and its impact on their store.

You will find more information on this study on the Small retailers page.

4. Alcohol price distribution

This study assessed the impact of MUP on the price distribution of alcohol products sold in the Scottish off-trade. Data from May 2016 to April 2019 (two years prior to MUP implementation and up to one year after) were obtained from market research company Nielsen. We compared data from Scotland to England and Wales, where MUP had not been introduced. 

You will find more information on this study on the Alcohol price distribution page.

5. Alcohol products and prices

We will assess how the price, strength and range of alcohol products sold changes as a result of MUP. We obtained weekly data on products, price and volume sold through retailers from Nielsen, a market research company. We have also obtained data on the products (including alcohol strength), price and volume sold through wholesalers. We will compare changes in Scotland with England and Wales, where MUP has not been introduced.

You will find more information on this study on the Alcohol products and prices page.

6. Sales based consumption

We will assess the impact of MUP on the volume of pure alcohol sold in the off-trade in Scotland, overall and by drink type. We will compare changes in Scotland with England and Wales, where MUP has not been introduced. We will use alcohol sales data from both the on- and off-trade to assess for changes in different trade sectors.

This study will also contribute to the alcoholic drinks industry outcome area.

You will find more information on this study on the Sales based consumption page.

This outcome area will assess the impact of MUP on alcohol consumption in Scotland, including where people get their alcohol from. It will also assess if changes in consumption differ by age, sex, deprivation and pattern of drinking.

There are three studies contributing to this outcome area.

6. Sales-based consumption

We will assess the impact of MUP on the volume of pure alcohol sold in the off-trade in Scotland, overall and by drink type. We will compare changes in Scotland with England and Wales, where MUP has not been introduced. We will use alcohol sales data from both the on- and off-trade to assess for changes in different trade sectors.

This study will also contribute to the alcoholic drinks industry outcome area.

You will find more information on this study on the Sales based consumption page.

7. Drinking at harmful levels

We have commissioned The University of Sheffield and Figure 8 Consulting to assess the impact of MUP on those drinking at harmful levels, considering the impact on consumption and drinking behaviour, substitution with other substances, health, crime and children and families.

This study will also use primary care records to identify a cohort of those drinking at harmful levels, link with hospitalisation and deaths data, and assess change in health outcomes in the pre-and-post-MUP period. It will also compare the changes in Scotland to those in England. This study contributes to the Implementation and compliance, Consumption, Health and social harms outcome areas.

This study will also contribute to the health and social harms outcome area and may also provide some evidence on compliance.

You will find more information on this study on the Drinking at harmful levels page.

8. Children and young people: Own drinking and related behaviour

We commissioned Iconic Consulting to assess the impact of MUP on children and young people's own drinking and related behaviour. Individual, paired and small group interviews took place to gather information from young people aged between 13 and 17, and those working with children and young people.  

This study contributes to the Implementation and compliance, Consumption, Health and social harms outcome areas. This study was published in 2020.

You will find more information on this study on the Children and young people: Own drinking page. 

This outcome area will assess changes in a number of alcohol harms as a result of MUP. This includes alcohol-related hospital admissions and deaths; harms to children and young people; alcohol-related crime and disorder; and unintended harms such as increased consumption of other harmful substances.

There are five studies contributing to this outcome area.

7. Drinking at harmful levels

We have commissioned The University of Sheffield and Figure 8 Consulting to assess the impact of MUP on those drinking at harmful levels, considering the impact on consumption and drinking behaviour, substitution with other substances, health, crime and children and families.

This study will also use primary care records to identify a cohort of those drinking at harmful levels link with hospitalisation and deaths data, and assess change in health outcomes in the pre- and post-MUP period. It will also compare the changes in Scotland to those in England. This study contributes to the Implementation and compliance, Consumption, Health and social harms outcome areas.

This study will also contribute to the health and social harms outcome area and may also provide some evidence on compliance.

You will find more information on this study on the Drinking at harmful levels page.

8. Children and young people: Own drinking and related behaviour

We commissioned Iconic Consulting to assess the impact of MUP on children and young people's own drinking and related behaviour. Individual, paired and small group interviews to gather information from young people aged between 13 and 17 and those working with children and young people.  

This study also contributes to the Implementation and compliance, Consumption, Health and social harms outcome areas.

You will find more information on this study on the Children and young people: Own drinking page. 

9. Hospital admissions and deaths

We will assess the impact of MUP on hospital admissions and deaths due to alcohol, by studying changes over time. 

This study focuses on the impact of MUP on hospital admissions and deaths due to alcohol.  The study contributes to the Health and social harms outcome areas.

You will find more information on this study on hospital admissions and deaths page.

10. Crime and disorder, public safety and public nuisance

We have commissioned the Crime and Well-being Big Data Centre, Manchester Metropolitan University to assess the impact of MUP on crime and disorder, public safety and public nuisance in Scotland. This study contributes to the health and social harms outcome area.

You will find more information on this study on the Crime and Disorder, public safety and public nuisance page.

11. Children and young people: Harm from others

We conducted focus groups with practitioners working with children and families to explore the impact of MUP on children and young people affected by harmful parental or carer alcohol consumption. We will look to also use other routinely collected data. This study contributes to the Health and social harms outcome area.

You will find more information on this study on the Children and young people: Harm from others page.

Contact us

You can contact us to find out more about the evaluation plan and the studies within it.