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Wales: Minimum alcohol price receives royal assent
The new law to introduce a minimum price for alcohol in Wales has received royal assent.
The Welsh Assembly backed the legislation in June, which now passes into law. The new act will mean the Welsh Government will be able to set a legal minimum price per unit for alcohol. The level this will be set at has not yet been determined, and will be subject to a consultation later in the year, before coming into force next summer.
It is part of efforts by the Welsh Government to cut excess alcohol use, which reportedly leads to nearly 55,000 hospital admissions and costs the Welsh NHS £159 million a year.
In 2016, there were 504 alcohol-related deaths in Wales. 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: “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.”