Pressure mounts as Welsh Labour back minimum pricing

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Pressure is mounting on Holyrood’s opposition parties after it emerged that Coalition Ministers in the Welsh Assembly are seeking devolution of licensing powers to Wales in order to introduce a minimum price for alcohol.

The move is being led by Labour Health Minister Edwina Hart who mistakenly sent an email to all Assembly Minister’s informing them of the plans.

 

 

 

Pressure is mounting on Holyrood’s opposition parties after it emerged that Coalition Ministers in the Welsh Assembly are seeking devolution of licensing powers to Wales in order to introduce a minimum price for alcohol.

The move is being led by Labour Health Minister Edwina Hart who mistakenly sent an email to all Assembly Minister’s informing them of the plans.

The news that Welsh Labour has joined party colleagues in England in supporting minimum pricing for alcohol will heap further pressure on the party’s Scottish branch who have refused to back similar proposals in Scotland.  Labour’s Health Spokesperson Jackie Baillie has claimed that there is no evidence that minimum pricing will work and claims the plans are flawed.

Welsh Labour now joins an ever growing list of groups who support minimum pricing for alcohol.

The list includes:

  • Health professionals north and south
  • Police forces north and south
  • The voluntary sector
  • Brewers and retailers
  • Labour councillors in England
  • Plaid Cymru
  • Welsh Labour
  • The House of Commons Health Select Committee
  • National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

Prime Minister David Cameron has also indicated support for the measures in the north of England.

The SNP has welcomed reports that the Labour coalition partners in the Welsh Assembly Government are seeking devolution of licensing powers to Wales in order to introduce a minimum price for alcohol.

Commenting, SNP MSP Michael Matheson, a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Health Committee, said:
“The coalition in favour of minimum pricing as an effective approach to tackling the worst damage done by alcohol abuse is growing by the day. The Welsh Assembly Government joins a chorus of expert voices in health, public order and the licensed trade who believe that the selling of alcohol at rock-bottom prices is one of the biggest problems facing our society and that we have to take action to stop it now.

“That’s why they support the SNP’s policy of minimum pricing. It is sensible, pragmatic and evidence-based and it will help to address the most harmful use of alcohol without penalising responsible drinkers.

“It is somewhat ironic that while Edwina Hart and her Labour colleagues in the Welsh Assembly Government are prepared to take radical action to against dirt-cheap drink for the sake of their nation’s health, Labour in Scotland continue to cynically put party politics above public health.

“Edwina Hart and her colleagues in the Welsh Assembly Government are to be congratulated on their determination to tackle the damage caused in Wales by the abuse of alcohol. The SNP government shares that determination in Scotland. The SNP’s minimum pricing plan will save lives, cut crime and help re-balance Scotland’s damaging relationship with alcohol, and I call again for Scots politicians of all parties to stop playing politics with the nation’s health and get behind these proposals.”

Note:

Reports in today’s Welsh media can be found here:

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