MSPs on a Holyrood committee have been urged to increase the minimum unit price (MUP) on alcohol to 65p.

The proposal is due before the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee on Tuesday, with the levy potentially increasing from 50p.

Alcohol and drugs minister Christina McKelvie will appear before the committee to argue for its passage ahead of a vote.

Speaking before the decision, Dr Alastair MacGilchrist, the chair of Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (Shaap), pushed for the decision to be rubber stamped.

“MUP targets the cheap, high strength products which cause the greatest damage to health and it has the most impact in our poorest communities, where the burden of alcohol harms is the highest,” he said.

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“I urge MSPs on the Health, Social Care and Sport Committee to act on the overwhelming evidence to uprate MUP to 65p to maintain its impact and to continue to save lives. Failure to do so would cause an additional 200 Scottish lives to be lost each year.”

But Dr MacGilchrist said the policy alone would not be enough to stem the increasing alcohol death figures in Scotland – after 1,276 people died in 2022, the highest since 2008.

“MUP alone is not enough when we are in the midst of a Scottish Government public health emergency with alcohol,” he said.

“We also need to see other measures taken forward, such as restricting alcohol marketing, if we are going to shift the dial on our relationship with alcohol.

“These polices should also be coupled with meaningful investment in the services and support that are so desperately needed by people who are dealing with the consequences of alcohol problems day-in, day-out.

“We need the Scottish Government to prioritise action to tackle alcohol harms, and we need this urgently.”