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Scottish Government to Introduce Minimum Alcohol Pricing

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Scottish Government to Introduce Minimum Alcohol Pricing

Scottish Government to Introduce Minimum Alcohol Pricing
November 02
15:11 2011
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The Scottish Government has published its Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) Bill, which looks to set a minimum price for a unit of alcohol. It also sets the formula for calculating the minimum price (based on the strength of the alcohol, the volume of the alcohol and a price per unit of alcohol). A specific minimum price per unit of alcohol will be announced during the Bill process.


According to the Scottish Government, support for minimum pricing has come from all quarters – the Welsh Government, Northern Ireland Executive, all 17 of Scotland’s public health directors in NHS Scotland, the Chief Medical Officer of Scotland Sir Harry Burns, British Medical Association, the Royal Colleges, ACPOS, Scottish Licensed Trade Association, Church of Scotland, various children’s charities, Tennents, Molson Coors and Greene King.


A similar Bill proposed by a then minority government was defeated in Parliament last year. However, the present Government now has a majority. “Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol is one of the most pressing public health challenges facing us as a nation and we need to take action to tackle it. Here we have a second opportunity to add the missing piece in the legislative jigsaw – introducing minimum pricing. I urge my parliamentary colleagues to take it,” says Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing Nicola Sturgeon.


Not surprisingly, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association is opposing the Bill. The WSTA is the voice of the British wine and spirit industry, representing over 340 companies producing, importing and selling wines and spirits.


“As millions of families face the toughest economic conditions for a generation the Scottish Government is determined to press ahead with legislation that will punish the vast majority of responsible consumers with higher prices,” comments Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the WSTA. “Yet there is no evidence minimum pricing will address the problem of alcohol misuse and the most recent Government figures show alcohol consumption per capita fell in Scotland last year.”


He adds: “The Scottish Parliament should insist on its right to review the policy and its impact on cross-border shopping, internet sales of alcohol and any evidence of illegal trade of alcohol in Scotland.”

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