Blog: Chris MercerMinimum pricing figures

Chris Mercer | 23 April 2010

Let's not get carried away with new figures on the impact of a minimum price for alcoholic drinks.

Scotland's Government has been left a touch red-faced by scientists whom it relied on to make the case for minimum pricing. The researchers have said the benefits for health and crime will be slightly less than first thought.

It turns out that the original study used old figures. It's a little embarrassing for the ruling Scottish National Party.

But, the new study still says minimum pricing can cut more than 1,000 deaths annually and it draws a direct link between a base price on drinks the amount that people drink.

So, I think it's a bit premature for talk of a "serious blow" to the policy, as one opposition politician was quoted as saying.

What's of more importance is the total confusion surrounding the SNP's Alcohol Health Bill.

All sort of measures, from a social responsibility levy and a ban on below-cost selling to outright minimum pricing, are being dangled over the drinks industry without any real timeline. 

Much of the outcome will depend on which way Labour, as the second largest party in the Scottish Parliament, decides to go.


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