Scottish Parliament rejects minimum pricing, backs cut-price drinks ban

Scottish Parliament rejects minimum pricing, backs cut-price drinks ban

Scotland will ban cut-price promotions on alcoholic drinks after the country's Parliament voted in favour of the plan.

Offers such as 'three bottles for the price of two' will be outlawed after members of the Parliament voted to support the ban as part of the ruling Scottish National Party's (SNP) Alcohol Bill.

Parliament also backed a plan to give local authorities the power to charge a "social responsibility levy" on alcohol retailers in problem areas.

However, several components of the original Alcohol Bill have failed to get through. Parliament rejected minimum pricing on drinks, for the third and final time, and also ruled out a change in the minimum purchasing age in the off-trade, from 18 years to 21 years.

The rejection of minimum pricing, by 76 votes to 49, is a blow to the SNP, but it will be cheered by many in the drinks industry.

The CEO of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) congratulated the Parliament for "looking carefully at the evidence" on minimum pricing. "Now that minimum pricing has been rejected, we call on all parties to come together to build consensus around alternative, more effective, legal tax-based measures to address alcohol misuse," he said.

Scotland has the power to set its own alcohol policy, independently of the policy set by the UK Government in London.