Commenting on an Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) report that warns introducing a minimum unit price of 45p – the level previously proposed by the SNP government – would transfer £1.4 billion from consumers to producers and retailers across Britain (equivalent to £140 million in Scotland), Scottish Labour’s Shadow public Health Minister, Dr Richard Simpson MSP, said:
“This powerful report from the highly-respected IFS blows the biggest hole yet in the flawed logic behind the SNP’s minimum unit pricing plans.
“Scottish Labour is absolutely determined to tackle Scotland’s drink problem, but we do not believe that minimum unit pricing is the answer as it will deliver a multi-million windfall for big supermarkets without providing a single extra penny for our NHS, it will not target problem drinks, could lead to significant cross border issues and big questions still remain over whether these plans will be struck down in the courts.
“We all share the ambition to tackle Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol, but it is if we are to seriously tackle the problem we need to come up with responses which recognise its complexity. The SNP are under the illusion that minimum unit pricing is some sort of magic silver bullet, but unfortunately no one measure is going to tackle Scotland’s relationship with alcohol. That is why Scottish Labour is has proposed a raft of measures across licensing, criminal justice, social work, health and education that we believe will help tackle Scotland’s relationship with alcohol.
“It’s not too late for the SNP to drop their dogmatic approach, recognise that the issue and solutions are not as simple as they make out and develop a genuine consensus to tackle Scotland relationship with alcohol.”