Scottish Beer and Pub Association voices minimum price concerns

By Adam Pescod

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Minimum price, Minimum pricing, Scottish parliament, Scotland, Scottish national party

Supermarkets: prices would rise
Supermarkets: prices would rise
The Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA) has expressed “concern” about parts of the Minimum Pricing Bill published by the Scottish Government yesterday.

The Bill looks to set a minimum price for a unit of alcohol as a condition of the licence. 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).

The Scottish National Party (SNP) failed to push through a similar proposal in May after it was rejected by MSPs, but its victory in the Scottish Election placed the issue firmly back on the agenda.

A minimum unit price of 45p was put forward then, but it is unclear what that has now been revised to, with a new figure expected early next year.

Chief executive of the SBPA, Patrick Browne, said: “Without commenting on the principles of Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP) of alcohol, I think there will be concern in the trade that the Scottish Government seem to have abandoned the sunset clause which they had proposed to have apply to MUP when they brought forward their legislation last year.

“This would have meant that the Parliament would have had to have voted for minimum pricing to have been retained going forward rather than the measure having to be subsequently abolished by new legislation if MUP was proven not to have worked.

“Ironically, the sunset clause provision was the only aspect of minimum pricing to have been passed previously by the Scottish Parliament and the fact that it has been removed is of concern.

“Similarly, the Bill as it stands contains no details about the mechanisms by which MUP would be set, what process would lead to deciding a figure, and what involvement the industry or stakeholders would have in those processes.

“We are worried that leaving those critical details to subsequent regulations mans inevitably they will be subject to less parliamentary scrutiny and safeguards. We will be pressing for those details to be included in the Bill before it is finally voted on by the Scottish Parliament.”

Related topics: Beer

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