The issue of minimum alcohol pricing is set to grab the headlines again on Thursday as MSPs debate a raise to 65p per unit.

One of the flagship policies of the SNP - later SNP-Green coalition - government, MUP has proved controversial, with both staunch advocates and bitter opponents.

Here's everything you need to know about today's statement.

What is minimum unit pricing?

First introduced in Scotland in 2018, MUP does exactly what it says on the tin - it establishes a baseline price per unit of alcohol in a drink.

It's currently set at 50p, meaning that if a 660ml bottle of beer contains three units then the lowest possible price it can be sold for is £1.50 - not including any taxes and duties - and if a 70cl bottle of whisky contains 30 units it must be sold for at least £15.

The Herald:

Why was it introduced?

The Scottish Government introduced the law to reduce hospital admissions and deaths linked to alcohol.

The idea is that the more expensive alcoholic drinks are, the less they will be consumed, therefore helping to reduce the long-term effects of excessive consumption.

Has it worked?

That depends who you ask.

An analysis by Public Health Scotland in 2022 found a 3% net reduction in sales per adult in the three years following the implementation of the policy.

In March last year, the prestigious Lancet medical journal found minimum unit pricing in Scotland prevented hundreds of deaths and hospital admissions despite "limited evidence" that it reduced consumption among the heaviest drinkers.

It estimated that deaths had been reduced by 13.4%.

Read More: Analysis - If the heaviest drinkers didn't cut down, how has minimum pricing 'saved lives'?

However, Public Health Scotland has also found that people drinking at harmful levels or those with alcohol dependence have not change their drinking habits and may instead have cut back on costs like food and energy.

In terms of deaths, the raw numbers are actually increasing.

There were 1,276 alcohol-specific deaths registered in Scotland in 2022, an increase of 2% on 2021 which was already the deadliest year since 2008.

It's possible those numbers would have been worse without MUP, but deaths are still rising.

Why is there a statement on it today?

The Herald: Minimum alcohol pricing

When the law was introduced it contained a six year 'sunset clause', meaning it will expire unless MSPs vote to add it permanently to the statute books by the end of April.

A statement on the future of minimum pricing has been scheduled for today, where it's expected that plans will be put forward to raise it to 65p per unit.

A consultation paper published by the government says the 30% increase in the price per unit "strikes a reasonable balance between public health benefits against the effects of any intervention in the alcoholic drinks market and subsequent impact on consumers."

What are the arguments for raising the price?

In the six years since the policy was introduced there has been significant inflation - it's therefore argued that the MUP is less effective than it was.

Researchers from the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group (SARG), based at Sheffield University, said MUP would have to be 61 pence per unit now instead of the current 50 pence just to keep pace with the rise in prices since the policy was implemented.

Read More: Letters - Why should the sensible majority be punished yet again?

What are the arguments against?

Those opposed argue it's unfair to hike prices for responsible drinkers during a cost of living crisis, and point to the aforementioned studies showing that it has had a limited affect on the most problematic drinkers.

Trades unions in the alcohol sector have also raised fears over jobs and called the MUP a 'tax on the poor'.

David Hume, GMB Scotland organiser in the drinks industry, said: “There is simply no case for continuing to impose a minimum unit price on alcohol never mind increasing it.

“The jury is out on the policy’s impact on Scotland’s drinking but alcohol-related deaths are rising and there is no evidence to suggest it is helping protect problem drinkers.

“The actual impact of minimum pricing is at best questionable and ministers should be asking those questions instead of doubling down by increasing it."

If the price is raised, how will it affect me?

Under the 65p MUP, a 700ml bottle of Scotch whisky would cost a minimum of £18.20, while a bottle of vodka or gin would have a minimum price of £17.07.

A pack of four 440ml cans of cider would cost at least £5.15, while a pack of four beer cans of the same size would cost at least £5.72.