Major boost for minimum pricing

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The SNP’s minimum price for alcohol policy received yet another boost with the news that the main health advisory body at Westminster looks set to back the proposal.


The SNP’s minimum price for alcohol policy received yet another boost with the news that the main health advisory body at Westminster looks set to back the proposal.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is this week expected to endorse the introduction of a minimum price per unit of alcohol as a way of deterring underage drinking and binge drinking as well as reducing the overall consumption of alcohol.

The price believed to be favoured by the body is 50p per unit; this is within the Scottish government’s range but 10p more than their provisional example price of 40p.  The advisory body join a growing list of bodies supporting the action including police, health officials, retailers, brewers and charities.

The move will be seen as a massive blow to Scottish Labour who have set themselves against minimum pricing.  Labour recently created their own body to look at Scotland’s alcohol problems and interim recommendations from the group targeted drinks containing caffeine.

The Scottish Tories agree in principle that pricing needs to be targeted but favour their Westminster party’s approach of using UK tax powers.

The SNP have accused Labour and the other parties of playing politics with the issue.  Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said: “This is a significant intervention which indicates the consensus that is now developing in favour of socially responsible minimum pricing for alcohol.”