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Committee backs principle of alcohol minimum pricing

7 March 2012

The proposed compulsory minimum price for a unit of alcohol has received the support in principle of the Scottish Parliament's Health & Sport Committee.

In its stage 1 report on the controversial Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Bill, the committee records that a majority of its members believe the evidence received was "compelling and overwhelming" that the bill would lead to a reduction in harmful drinkers’ consumption with a beneficial impact on public health, crime, public services, productivity and the economy.

A minority remain sceptical about the efficacy of minimum pricing and believe a universal approach may penalise moderate drinkers and those in lower income groups.

The bill remains likely to face a legal challenge on the grounds of interference with the open market, contrary to European Union law.

Committee convener Duncan McNeil MSP said: “Alcohol misuse is clearly one of Scotland’s biggest challenges in terms of our nation’s health.

"The committee recognised that this bill represents one element in a range of measures to reduce Scotland’s alcohol consumption and we look forward to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy announcing the level at which the minimum price is to be set by the start of stage 3 of the bill.”

Click here to view the committee's report.

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