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UK: Scotland presses on with minimum pricing for alcohol

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The Scottish Government has confirmed that it will reintroduce legislation that would set a minimum price on alcoholic drinks in the country, to the drinks industry's ire.

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Setting out its legislative agenda today (7 September), the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) confirmed speculation that it will again seek to install minimum pricing. Drinks industry leaders were quick to criticise the move and the Wine & Spirit Trade Association called for an "independent review" of the possible consequences.

Last year, minimum pricing was voted down in Scotland's Parliament, which has the power to deviate from alcohol policy laid down by the UK Government in London. In May, however, the SNP secured a majority in Parliament for the first time.

The Wine & Spirit Trade Association's CEO, Jeremy Beadles, said today: "There is no evidence to suggest minimum pricing will be effective in tackling alcohol misuse and substantial grounds to believe the policy breaches EU law." So far, the UK Government has steered clear of introducing minimum pricing in England and Wales.

Beadles added: "It is vital that there is a full and independent review of the consequences of minimum unit pricing, including examination of its impact on cross-border shopping, internet sales of alcohol and any evidence of illegal trade of alcohol in Scotland."


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