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UK: Minimum drinks pricing back on the agenda

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Minimum pricing for alcoholic drinks is back on the political agenda in Scotland after the Scottish National Party secured an overall majority in the country's Parliament.

The Scotch Whisky Association is seeking to meet the new-look Scottish Government within weeks in order to express its concerns about minimum pricing.

Outright victory for the Scottish National Party (SNP) in last week's election for the Scottish Parliament has thrust minimum pricing back into the spotlight. Last year, other political parties combined to block the minority SNP Government from passing legislation on minimum pricing. Last week, however, the SNP secured a majority of four seats and it is believed to be keen on reviving its alcohol price plan.

"We recognise the political reality is that if the new SNP Government is minded to proceed with its drive to introduce minimum pricing it is clearly in a position to do so," said a Scotch Whisky Association spokesperson today (10 May). "We will be seeking an early meeting with the Scottish Government."

She added: "We remain convinced there are significant legal difficulties with the policy. We are also concerned at the long-term effect on the Scotch Whisky industry in our export markets, a matter we hope the Government will consider closely given its policy priority to boost exports."

At its annual general meeting today, the SWA said that Scotch whisky generates GBP120 per second for the UK economy.


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