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Scotland minimum pricing talks expected in weeks

By Michelle Perrett , 31-Aug-2011

Supermarkets: cheap alcohol

Supermarkets: cheap alcohol

Interparty talks on the implementation of a minimum pricing scheme in Scotland are due to get under way at Holyrood within weeks.

It claims the move has set the Scottish Parliament on a collision course with brewers and distillers as well as the European Court and Westminster.

Drinks companies have started a fresh round of lobbying as they fear the move is likely to become law, claims the newspaper.

“It’s something we are expecting them to try and do, and I would expect them to push it through,” said Kristin Wolfe, head of alcohol policy at SABMiller, quoted in the FT.

A minimum pricing law could be introduced in Scotland as early as April next year, following the landslide victory of the Scottish National Party (SNP) in the Scottish elections. The party won 65 seats in the devolved 129-seat Holyrood assembly — giving the party an overall majority to push through the legislation.

The Scotch Whisky Association argues the bill is likely to be illegal and would dent what is one of Scotland’s biggest exports.

“We believe this is one of the greatest threats we have on a global basis,” said Campbell Evans, director of government and consumer affairs.

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