Scots health lobby urge MSPs to back minimum pricing

By James Wilmore

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Minimum price, Supermarket

Health campaigners in Scotland are urging MSPs to "put party differences aside" and back a minimum price on alcohol to stop supermarkets selling it...

Health campaigners in Scotland are urging MSPs to "put party differences aside" and back a minimum price on alcohol to stop supermarkets selling it at "ridiculously cheap prices".

The call comes ahead of an important debate and vote on the Alcohol Bill at Holyrood tomorrow.

Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS), BMA Scotland and Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP) have targeted MSPs with a briefing paper urging them to support the controversial Bill.

The Bill includes plans to introduce a minimum price, which is likely to be 40p a unit, although the government has yet to confirm the level.

Under the plans, pubs would also be forced to pay a "social responsibility" fee and some off-trade promotions would be restricted.

Dr Brian Keighley, chairman of the BMA in Scotland, said: "At the heart of this Bill are measures to stop the irresponsible pricing of alcohol driven by large supermarket chains who sell some of the strongest alcohol products at ridiculously cheap prices, often as a loss leader to attract customers.

"As a public health measure, minimum pricing could have a significant and positive impact on health."

He pointed to research which estimates a 40p minimum price could cut alcohol-related deaths by 119 in the first decade and alcohol-related hospital admissions by more than 2,000.

"Opponents to this legislation are concerned about a perceived impact on their business profits, yet they have failed to come up with any evidence that trade will be affected significantly," Dr Keighley added.

Minimum pricing has faced opposition from the other main political parties in Scotland, but the health lobby wants MSPs to consider the broader picture.

"As we approach the first vote on this Bill, we are urging MSPs to put aside party differences and vote for health by progressing this legislation to the next stage," Dr Keighley said.

Related topics: Health & safety

Property of the week

The Hazeldene Hotel

- Tenancy

The Hazeldene Hotel is opposite the Famous Blacksmiths Shop in Gretna Green. With 11 letting rooms, it is in a prime location to offer fantastic...

Follow us

Pub Trade Guides

View more