Portman Group slams Scottish Govt alcohol proposals

The Scottish Government’s controversial plans to ban under-21s from buying alcohol will not solve the nation’s alcohol problems but will demonise alcohol, says the Portman Group.

The drinks industry body says that attempting to tackle problems by raising prices or restricting availability would be untargeted, unfair and “likely to be ineffective”.

The Scottish Government proposal, currently out for consultation, also includes a minimum price of alcohol per unit and separate alcohol check-outs in supermarkets to deter impulse buys.

David Poley, chief executive of the Portman Group says: “The myth is that levels of drinking and alcohol misuse are worse in Scotland than elsewhere in the UK. In reality, Scots drink less than people in the rest of Britain and are no more likely to be drinking harmfully.

“Problems of alcohol misuse in Scotland will not be solved by turning alcohol into a social taboo and demonising drink. There is a considerable risk that this would actually increase the appeal of alcohol to young people in particular.”

He further adds that people who claim that low prices are to blame for misuse among children “miss the point” and only a sustained programme of enforcement activity will tackle this problem.

Last month Diageo also launched a scathing attack on the Scottish Government proposals, accusing it of failing to target those who misuse alcohol with a series of “ineffective” and “unnecessary” proposals that will penalise the responsible drinker.

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here