Trade raises concern about 50p minimum pricing plan for Scotland

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Minimum price, Scotland, Scottish national party

Trade raises concern about 50p minimum pricing plan for Scotland
The trade has raised concerns after the Scottish Government confirmed its preference for a 50p-per-unit minimum price for alcohol in Scotland — 5p higher than originally mooted.

Earlier this week Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said that, at this level, the price was equivalent to the 45p per unit set in 2010 after taking account of inflation.

She added: “A minimum price of 50p takes this into account and will achieve a similar level of public health benefits to what 45p would have achieved in 2010.”

The Scottish Executive also revealed plans to set 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 minimum price per unit will be introduced as a condition of the premises licence of the operator.

There was concern from the trade about the possible price differential between England and Wales, which is tipped to be 40p per unit.  

Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers’ strategic affairs director Kate Nicholls insisted any move in
Scotland must come within a wider framework to fight alcohol misuse.

She said: “We need to have discussions across the borders to ensure we have a consistent policy. The last thing we need is to recreate in Scotland and England the situation you have got in Ireland and Northern Ireland.”

A Molson Coors spokesman said: “We have been consistent in supporting a UK-wide ban on ‘below-cost selling’ that includes VAT, duty and an average cost of production. At 50p per unit, 70% of all beer prices would increase in the Scottish off-trade.

“We believe the proposed level of 50p per unit is out of proportion with the Scottish Government’s ‘targeted policy’ commitment to address alcohol harm.”

Wine & Spirit Trade Association interim chief executive Gavin Partington said: “The Government’s own report shows 73% of all alcohol prices in the off-trade would rise overnight as a result of a 50p minimum unit price.”
The Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Bill is shortly to start the final stage of the parliamentary process.

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