Independent retailers in Scotland are split over the Scottish government’s announcement that it intends to increase the minimum unit price (MUP) on alcohol from 50p to 65p from the end of September.

Hussan Lal, president of the Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed) in Scotland, says the organisation supports moves to prevent deaths from alcohol addiction but insists minimum unit pricing (MUP) is not the solution.

Hussan, who owns a convenience store in Paisley, said: “We are all for saving lives, but MUP is not the be all and end all. It has not worked, and simply increasing the price of alcohol will not deter heavy drinkers.

“We need something different in terms of education and investment in better services to support those who are addicted to alcohol.”

He is also concerned that the price increase will lead to an escalation in shoplifting, which has risen to unprecedented levels in recent years.

However, Fed member Ferhan Ashiq, whose store is in Musselburgh, is supportive of the increase in MUP.

He said: “As a retailer, I understand what the Scottish government wants to achieve and I back it. We need to play our part in this and I’m not opposed to it.”

The Scottish Grocers’ Federation also claimed to be supportive of MUP, but criticised the timing. ”Now is not the time to increase,” said the group, “hitting the pockets of millions who consume sensibly, plus businesses trying to provide good value.”