Minimum price setting for alcohol wins more support
MINISTERS have claimed growing support for setting minimum prices for alcohol, following reports the plan was set to become a reality.
The Scottish Government's proposal is thought likely to be supported by Labour at Holyrood which is expected to ensure a parliamentary majority for the forthcoming Alcohol Bill.
Scotland's alcohol problem costs the country more than 2 billion a year.
A spokesman for health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: "Week by week, there is growing support for the principle of minimum pricing of alcohol, and growing evidence of its need.
"As the Chief Medical Officer has made clear, we must tackle Scotland's 2.25bn alcohol misuse problem – and all the human misery it causes – now.
"The UK's four chief medical officers all back minimum pricing, and the BMA, Royal College of Nursing, the police, the British Liver Trust, and indeed the licensed trade association, all support the Scottish Government's proposals, which would stop high-strength beers and ciders being sold for pocket money prices, while not affecting premium and quality products such as Scotch Whisky."
SNP MSP Michael Matheson, a member of Holyrood's health committee, said moderate drinkers have nothing to fear from minimum pricing.
"The scale of Scotland's alcohol problem is too great simply to do nothing," he added.
A minimum drink price was one of the main elements of Scottish Government proposals announced earlier this year.
A figure of 40p per unit of alcohol has been widely speculated, making the minimum price of a 13 per cent bottle of wine 3.90.
The Scottish Conservatives said that Labour had "abandoned any pretence of opposition at Holyrood" and insisted blanket minimum pricing was not the answer.
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