Scottish minimum alcohol price plans to be rejected

A Bill to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol in Scotland is set to be defeated by opposition MPs.

The Scottish National Party Government’s Alcohol Bill has been unveiled today (26 November) and suggests a 40p minimum price per unit of alcohol.

The SNP argues that minimum pricing will help tackle alcohol misuse, which the Scottish Government estimates costs the country about £2.25bn.

However, Labour, Tory and Liberal MPs have raised concerns that some of the measures contained in the Bill are illegal under European law and have promised to vote against when it comes in front of Parliament next year.

It is understood that other measures contained in the Bill such as a ban on certain drink promotions and the introduction of a “social responsibility fee” for retailers are likely to win the approval of opposition MPs.

Many retailers and producers have argued against minimum pricing, with some suggesting higher taxes for cheap high strength drinks as an alternative

Nicola Sturgeon, health secretary, says it is “inexcusable” that opponents of the Bill have failed to listen to the advice on minimum pricing from those at the “the sharp end of dealing with alcohol misuse” such as The Royal Colleges of Nursing, Physicians and the British Medical Association.

“While we have never said minimum pricing is a silver bullet, all the expert opinion agrees that is can have a major impact as part of our wider package of measures.”

Calls to introduce minimum pricing across the UK have so far been rejected by Downing Street.

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