Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon has called on those who still oppose the SNP’s alcohol minimum pricing plans to let it “get on with the job” and not delay the legislation’s journey through the courts.
Last week the Scottish Conservative party dropped its opposition to the plans on the understanding that the legislation would be scrapped after five years if it had been proved not to work.
Tory leader Ruth Davidson said: “While we retain our scepticism, with the security of a ‘sunset clause’ we have resolved to give minimum pricing a chance to succeed. If it works we will be delighted we aided that success. If it fails then we have secured the mechanism by which it can be dropped.”
The Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) welcomed the addition of the so-called sunset clause but added that it remained “sceptical” of the plans.
“Minimum pricing is a disproportionate measure which will impact negatively on low income and moderate drinkers, drive up cross-border and internet sales, and could push the costs of licensing,” the SGF said.
The Scottish government now hopes that the Alcohol Bill could become law by this summer, although ministers have yet to set a minimum price.
The bill is also supported by the Liberal Democrats and the Greens, but the Scottish Labour party remains staunchly against the plans.
Speaking at the SNP conference, Sturgeon accused Labour of “putting petty political posturing ahead of protecting public health.”
“I know there are some…who still have concerns about this policy. I am confident that it will prevail against any legal challenge that might come its way,” she added.