The minimum unit price of alcohol is set to rise in Scotland by 30 per cent, from 50p to 65p.

The Scottish Government announced the move at Holyrood on Thursday.

Deputy first minister Shona Robison said: "I can confirm it is our intention to lay draft orders before parliament to continue minimum unit pricing beyond April 30 and to set the price per unit at 65p."

With the Scottish Parliament's agreement, she said the move to 65p would not take place until September 30.

Minimum unit pricing (MUP) aims it to reduce the availability of cheap alcohol.

Before it was introduced in 2018, super strength cider (7.5 per cent) was sold in two litres bottles for as little as £1.99.

After the legislation was introduced that same two litre bottle could not be sold for less than £7.50 because of the 50p minimum price for a unit of alcohol.

Under the new plans for a 65p minimum price it would be £9.75.

When the new pricing comes into force, a 75cl bottle of 12.5 per cent red wine will rise from a minimum of £4.69 to £6.09.

However Scottish Conservative health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane said minimum pricing "simply punishes responsible drinkers".

He said: "As a practising GP, I am well aware of the plight of alcoholism in Scotland. However, it is clear that MUP is not reducing alcohol-related deaths as the SNP are claiming.

"What is perhaps most concerning is the report from Public Health Scotland that highlighted that problem drinkers are choosing to skip meals in order to buy alcohol."

The news has sparked a mixed response from industry bodies.

Colin Wilkinson, managing director of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said: “The sale of cheap alcohol has been a major factor in many people developing alcohol-related problems so a proportionate increase in MUP make absolute sense.

“Pubs and bars provide a controlled and safe environment for people drinking alcohol whereas people drinking at home are not necessarily aware of how much they are drinking.

"The retention of, and the proposed increase in, the level of MUP will help avoid a return to the days of deep discounting and irresponsible promotions which were particularly seen in supermarkets."

But the GMB union, which represents workers in the drinks industry, accused the government of basing its decision on "anecdote, hunches and hope".

GMB drinks industry organiser David Hume said: “The case for continuing with MUP, never mind increasing it, gets weaker with every piece of research published.

“Ministers must be guided by reliable research and data, not wishful thinking and good intentions.

“The health benefits of this policy remain theoretical at best but the risk of undermining one of Scotland’s most successful industries, threatening investment and jobs, could not be more real."

Mo Razzaq, the national vice president of the Federation of Independent Retailers, said: “It is not going to tackle the issue of alcohol consumption.  Anyone with alcohol abuse issues will steal the product if they cannot afford it, as it is an addiction.

“The government is not spending enough to get people addicted to alcohol with the help they need.

"As usual, it is passing the buck to businesses.”