Today the health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government will table an amendment to add the minimum price to the Alcohol (Scotland) Bill, which is about to start the second stage of the parliamentary process.
Reacting to the news, Gavin Partington, a spokesperson from WSTA, the UK wine and spirit trade body, said: “Setting a minimum price at 45p doesn’t alter the fact that minimum pricing is wrong in principle. It won’t tackle alcohol misuse but will punish families on low incomes and pensioners.”
He added: “It’s time the Scottish Government stopped pursuing an approach already rejected by Parliament and started working with other politicians and stakeholders on a range of policies to address the root causes of alcohol misuse.”
However, leading voices in the medical profession have lent their support to the new pricing plan. Brian Keighley, chairman of the British Medical Association (BMA) in Scotland said minimum pricing will have an immediate effect in tackling alcohol misuse in the country.
He said: “By setting the price at 45 pence, it is estimated that 50 deaths will be prevented in the first year. Minimum pricing will also reduce the toll of alcohol on the health service saving the NHS in excess of £80 million.”
Dr Harry Burns, Scotland’s chief medical officer, also defended the introduction of minimum prices. He said: “Minimum pricing, as part of a package of wider measures, can help us to redress the balance when it comes to our unhealthy relationship with alcohol.”