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UK: Scotland rejects minimum drinks pricing, again

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Members of Scotland's Parliament have rejected minimum pricing for alcoholic drinks in their third and final vote on the policy.

The vote, held today (10 November), is a blow to the ruling Scottish National Party (SNP) and will be welcomed by the majority of the drinks industry. Parliament rejected minimum pricing by 76 votes to 49 in the third and final reading of the SNP's Alcohol Bill.

However, other parts of the Alcohol Bill are expected to be backed by Parliament, which was still in session on the issue at the time of writing. Other measures in the Bill include a "social responsibility levy" on drinks retailers and outlets, as well as a ban on bulk drinks offers, such as three-for-two promotions.

The CEO of the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) today 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.

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