Scottish consumers will be unable to buy a bottle of red wine for less than £6.09 or a bottle of whisky for under £18.20 from October, after the minimum price for alcohol was raised by 30%.

Shona Robison, the deputy first minister, confirmed a Guardian story earlier this week that the minimum unit price (MUP) will increase from 50p a unit to 65p to keep pace with inflation and ensure prices are kept relatively high.

The new prices will come into force on 30 September. It means a basic bottle of whisky will rise from £14 to £18.20; a can of lager will cost at least £1.30; and a standard bottle of vodka £17.06.

“Alcohol harm remains a significant issue in Scotland,” Robison said. “It continues to contribute to worsening health outcomes.” She said this was particularly the case for men in deprived areas.

Alcohol-related death rates have risen over the past few years, partly due to consumption increasing during the Covid crisis.

Robison told MSPs that even though the government already spends £112m a year on alcohol and drug treatment units, ministers were considering introducing a new public health tax on shops, so the excess profits they earn from MUP can be clawed back.

The Fraser of Allander Institute, at Strathclyde University, estimates retailers have earned a total of about £30m a year from MUP because they retain the difference between the higher price paid for drinks and the wholesale price of the product.

Scottish Labour and public health charities argue that the case for a levy is now even greater: a 65p minimum price means higher unearned profits. Labour said on Thursday the levy’s proceeds should be spent on alcohol treatment and recovery projects.

Robison said businesses and health experts were being consulted on the possibility, with a decision due before the Scottish budget later this year. Scotland had a public health levy on large retailers between 2012 and 2015, which raised £95m.

Robison dismissed Conservative arguments that the increase unjustly penalised ordinary consumers during a cost of living crisis. Expert analysis suggested minimum pricing had cut the number of deaths annually from alcohol misuse by 13.4% compared with the likely death rate had MUP not been in place, Robison said.

The Scottish Retail Consortium said it welcomed the increased unit price but was angry at the prospect of an “unevidenced and unreasonable” new levy.

“Any mooted tax rises are nothing more than a thinly veiled cash grab at the expense of an industry already under immense pressure,” said Ewan MacDonald-Russell, its deputy chief executive.

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