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Legislation in Wales for minimum price for alcohol receives Royal Assent

A new law introducing a minimum price for alcohol in Wales has this month been granted Royal Assent.

The Welsh Government said the Public Health (Minimum Price for Alcohol) (Wales) Act 2018 was part of its wider efforts to reduce excessive drinking.

The new law will make it an offence for alcohol to be supplied below a minimum price made up of that minimum unit price, the strength of the alcohol and its volume. 

The level of the minimum unit price for this purpose will be specified in regulations made by the Welsh Ministers, following a consultation which will be launched this autumn.

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The new minimum pricing regime is expected to come into force during the summer of 2019.

Excess alcohol consumption is estimated to lead to nearly 55,000 alcohol-related hospital admissions a year, costing the Welsh NHS more than £150m annually. In 2016, there were 504 alcohol-related deaths in Wales.

The Bill was approved by the National Assembly for Wales in June.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “This legislation takes a sensible, targeted approach to a very real and evident problem in Wales today, by tackling the availability and affordability of cheap, strong alcohol. 

“In Wales, we have a proud tradition of taking action to protect the health of the public. This new law is part of our wider efforts to improve and protect the health of the population of Wales.”

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething said: “I’m delighted our landmark legislation to tackle the availability of cheap, strong alcohol in Wales has now become law.

“This legislation provides us with an opportunity for a step change. It gives us a chance to do more to address alcohol-related harms. And ultimately, it gives us a chance to do more to try to save lives.”

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