The Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) has welcomed an amendment to the Alcohol Minimum Pricing Bill which will see the legislation expire after six years unless parliament agrees it should continue.
The Scottish Government agreed to a ‘sunset clause’ as the legislation passed its second of three parliamentary hurdles this week. The clause, which was tabled by Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw, states that the minimum pricing policy should be evaluated after five years and ditched a year later if it does not have support.
SGF chief executive John Drummond said: “Whilst we continue to oppose minimum pricing we are cognisant that the parliamentary arithmetic means it will become law.
“That is why SGF lobbied for the inclusion of a sunset clause, so that the policy would be rigorously evaluated and terminated if proven to be unsuccessful.”
He also welcomed the rejection of an amendment for a ‘scheme for recovery of sums in relation to certain licensed premises’, which Drummond said would “raid the pockets of retailers”.
Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “The sunset clause is a response to concerns from some members that minimum testing hasn’t been tried elsewhere. I think that is a perfectly reasonable and legitimate position to take.”
The Scottish Government has not yet confirmed what the minimum unit price will be.