Trade figures slam SNP's 45p price plan

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Related tags: Minimum price, Scottish national party, Alcoholic beverage, Scotland

Scotland's proposal for a minimum price of 45p per unit of alcohol has been slammed by supermarket chiefs and trade figures. The announcement made...

Scotland's proposal for a minimum price of 45p per unit of alcohol has been slammed by supermarket chiefs and trade figures.

The announcement made yesterday by Scotland's health minister Nicola Sturgeon came under fire from supermarket giant Morrisons, who claimed it "would only serve to punish our customers in Scotland".

Richard Taylor, director of corporate affairs at Morrisons, instead called for a UK-wide ban on the sale of alcohol below the rate of duty - as has already been mooted by the government.

This suggestion was also backed by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive of the SWA, said: "The Scottish government's scheme fails to meet the basic tests of EU law and will do little to address alcohol misuse."

And Patrick Browne, head of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, called for legislative action across the nation and not "on a piecemeal basis".

Reacting to the proposed minimum price, Browne said: "The benefits claimed by the Scottish government for their minimum pricing policy seem very marginal relative to the number of consumers that would be impacted by the change.

"Our concerns remain about the potential problems that could be caused to the licensed industry in Scotland by the implementation of a policy that is untried and untested, and which could damage the sector even inadvertently."

The announcement was also met with stiff criticism from the world's largest drinks company, Diageo.

A spokesman for the company said: "Minimum pricing is wrong in principle. The debate in Scotland has moved on. It is time for the Scottish Government to recognise that and engage in broader discussions. Our view remains that targeted interventions would be much more effective and appropriate."

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