Sturgeon urges end to playing politics over minimum pricing

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Bold action is urgently needed to tackle Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol and the time for that action is now, MSPs were told today ahead of tomorrow’s parliamentary debate on the Alcohol (Scotland) Bill, which includes a proposal for a minimum price per unit of alcohol….


Bold action is urgently needed to tackle Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol and the time for that action is now, MSPs were told today ahead of tomorrow’s parliamentary debate on the Alcohol (Scotland) Bill, which includes a proposal for a minimum price per unit of alcohol.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon appealed to her parliamentary colleagues to set aside party politics and do the right thing for the nation’s health.

Ms Sturgeon said:
“Some public health issues are so important that they must take precedence over party politics. I believe tackling Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol is one such issue.

“There is a large and growing body of support for minimum pricing. I hope MSPs will now do the right thing and back this evidence based policy that already has the support of doctors, nurses, the police and growing numbers of the general population.

“We cannot simply sit back and do nothing. That will not reduce the horrific toll – both in financial and human terms – which alcohol takes on our nation.

“While it’s not a magic bullet, we believe that minimum pricing would effectively target problem drinkers – who favour high-strength, low cost alcohol – in a way which neither tinkering with alcohol duty nor adopting a “below cost” policy would do.”

Nicola Sturgeon speaking on minimum pricing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rResoTeVTKk{/youtube}

Labour oppose minimum pricing for alcohol and have suggested targetting caffeine content in drinks as an alternative.

Their health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie has accused the SNP of claiming that minimum pricing is a cure all ‘magic bullet’.

Jackie Baillie speaking on minimum pricing:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BvCFX4rF_G8{/youtube}

Minimum pricing is backed by all major front line organisations as well as charities and retailers.

The Stage One debate for the Alcohol (Scotland) Bill takes place in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow.

The total cost of alcohol misuse in Scotland is estimated to be around £3.56 billion – £900 for every adult in Scotland.

On average, Scotland sees 115 hospital admissions every day due to alcohol misuse.

Alcohol is now around 70 per cent more affordable than in 1980 and consumption has increased by around 20 per cent over the same period.