UK: Labour denies support for minimum alcohol pricing
The Scottish Labour Party has denied reports that it is set to back a proposal for minimum pricing on alcoholic drinks in the country.
A spokesperson for the political party told just-drinks today (17 August) that Labour has "made no decision whatsoever" on minimum pricing, which has been proposed by the ruling Scottish National Party to combat alcohol abuse in Scotland.
A Scottish newspaper report, which did not name sources, said at the weekend that Labour was set to back the plan.
Support en masse from Labour, the second largest party in Scotland's Parliament, would be enough to carry minimum pricing through in a Parliamentary vote.
Alcohol pricing will be debated in Parliament later this year, as part of the SNP's Health Bill. Alcohol abuse costs Scotland GBP2.25bn annually, according to the SNP. It is thought a minimum price could be fixed at around GBP0.40 per alcohol unit.
Drinks trade bodies, including the Scotch Whisky Association and Wine & Spirit Trade Association, argue minimum pricing will hurt the majority of drinkers instead of targeting the minority who abuse alcohol.
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