The Scottish Government is re-attempting to introduce minimum pricing for a unit of alcohol after similar proposals were rejected by ministers in the last Parliament.
A specific minimum price will be announced following the results of up-to-date research from the University of Sheffield. The Scottish National Party (SNP) initially proposed a 45p per unit minimum price before it won a government majority in the summer elections.
Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “By setting a minimum price for a unit of alcohol, we can raise the price of the cheap supermarket white ciders, lager and value spirits sought out by problem drinkers.
“I hope this time around MSPs will do the right thing and back this policy that has the support of doctors, nurses, the police and growing numbers of the general population.”
The Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) called for reassurances on a number of key issues which could threaten independent retailers. It urged the Scottish Government to address the potential for the proliferation of cross border and internet sales which could result from minimum pricing, and to publish the legal advice which shows that minimum pricing is competent and will not contravene by EU law.
John Drummond, SGF chief executive, said: “As responsible retailers we have consistently opposed any government intervention which would distort the retail market and we believe that more emphasis must be placed on dealing with the cultural aspects of our relationship with alcohol and not just price.”