MSP committee backs 50p minimum unit price for alcohol

The rate must be approved by the Scottish Parliament as a whole before coming into effect next month. Picture: John Devlin
The rate must be approved by the Scottish Parliament as a whole before coming into effect next month. Picture: John Devlin
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Holyrood’s Health Committee has unanimously backed a 50p minimum unit price for alcohol.

The rate must be approved by the Scottish Parliament as a whole before coming into effect next month.

Health Secretary Shona Robison said the 50p rate “strikes a balance between public health and social benefits and intervention in the market”.

She called for the policy - which was held up by a lengthy legal challenge - to be implemented without further delay.

Some organisations had called for the minimum price to be higher but almost three-quarters (74.3%) of those who took part in the Scottish Government’s consultation supported a 50p rate.

Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton asked Ms Robison if ministers would consider increasing it to 60p - the rate advocated by his party and other groups.

The Health Secretary said: “We want to keep the price issue under review as we take matters forward but I’m very keen given the journey we’ve been on ... that we don’t have any further delay.

“It is not as simple as just to take one number off and put another number on, a lot of complex issues would flow from that, delay would certainly flow from that.

“I think we’ve had enough delay, we want to get on with implementation.”