Minimum pricing defeated in Scotland

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  • Wednesday 22 September 2010

Scotland’s plans to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol are in tatters after opposition politicians defeated the proposal at the committee stage.

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A Scottish Conservative amendment to remove the plan to introduce a 45p per unit minimum price was passed by five votes to three by the health committee at Holyrood.

The Scottish National Party had argued that minimum pricing was a necessary weapon in the battle against excessive drinking in Scotland, but only the Greens supported the move.

Other parties, supported by the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA), had contended that the measure would breach EU and international trade rules, and would do little to address alcohol harm – while damaging the Scotch whisky industry.

Scottish Conservative health spokesperson Mary Scanlon MSP, who proposed the amendment, said the vote proved there was no political support for minimum pricing.

She added: ‘These plans would penalise responsible drinkers, harm the Scotch whisky industry, cost jobs and are probably illegal.’

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