The Scotch Whisky Association would accept a ban on alcohol sales below tax in place of a plan to introduce minimum pricing on drinks, the trade body has said.

Banning drinks sales at prices below the sum of value added tax and duty tax would be a more effective way of controlling consumption and would be palatable for distillers, the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) said today (19 November).

"We believe a floor price mechanism to tackle loss-leading could be introduced in the form of a ban on alcohol sales below tax," said SWA CEO Gavin Hewitt. "This would be a better way forward than an illegal mechanism such as minimum pricing."

The SWA move may offer a compromise solution to the Scottish Government, which faces a battle to pass minimum pricing legislation in Scotland's Parliament and is almost certain to face legal action if it attempts to implement the policy.

Minimum pricing is one of several measures contained in the Government's Alcohol Health Bill, due before Parliament in the next few weeks.

The SWA also announced today that all adverts for Scotch whisky within the EU's 27 member states should carry responsible drinking messages. The new rule is included in a revised marketing code from the SWA.

Members of the SWA will have to include responsible drinking messages on all promotion and marketing or face expulsion from the trade body, the SWA said.