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Scottish Health Committee backs minimum pricing

A minimum price for a unit of alcohol came one step closer today with the publication of the Stage 1 report on the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Bill by the Health and Sport Committee.

A reduction in harmful drinkers’ consumption and the beneficial impact on public health, crime, public services, productivity and the economy, were all cited by supporters of the Bill.

While a majority of the Committee believe the evidence received was compelling and overwhelming, some members remain sceptical about the efficacy of minimum pricing and believe a universal approach may penalise moderate drinkers and those in lower income groups.

Committee Convener Duncan McNeil MSP said:

“Alcohol misuse is clearly one of Scotland’s biggest challenges in terms of our nation’s health.

"The Committee recognised that this Bill represents one element in a range of measures to reduce Scotland’s alcohol consumption and we look forward to the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Wellbeing and Cities Strategy announcing the level at which the minimum price is to be set by the start of Stage 3 of the Bill.”

Committee Deputy Convener Bob Doris MSP said:

“The blight of harmful alcohol consumption has negatively impacted upon Scotland’s health, crime and economy for too long.

"International research and a range of health and economic experts, together with the licensing trade, all support this Bill which is a major step towards addressing Scotland’s relationship with alcohol.”

Download a copy of the report click here. (pdf 1.1mb)