WSTA slams new Scottish alcohol bill

WSTA,Scottish alcohol bill News Wine News
  • Thursday 26 November 2009

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has accused the Scottish government of penalising Scottish businesses and consumers with its new Alcohol Bill - while doing little to challenge the main causes of alcohol abuse.

The proposed law aims to give Ministers powers to impose minimum pricing on alcohol, although it does not set a minimum price.

It also seeks to ban all alcohol promotions in shops – a move intended to outlaw discounts such as ‘three for two’ wine deals and address the rock-bottom pricing of low-grade ciders, lagers and spirits.

Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the WSTA said, 'The stance by opposition parties against minimum pricing is to be welcomed but this legislation contains other measures which are equally unwelcome and equally unlikely to address the root causes of alcohol misuse.

'Despite the fact that the Government's own figures show overall alcohol consumption in Scotland is falling, ministers seem determined to pursue proposals which will hit innocent Scottish consumers and businesses.'

However Scotland's health secretary Nicola Sturgeon has defended the bill, noting that groups opposing the plans are ignoring the opinions of health experts.

‘It is simply inexcusable that opponents have chosen not even to listen to the evidence around minimum pricing during the Bill Process.’

‘The Alcohol Bill represents a once-in-a-generation chance to turn around Scotland's drink problems’, Sturgeon added.

The Scottish Health Committee will begin to take evidence on this issue next week.

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