SNP SET TO HAND EVEN BIGGER PROFITS TO BIG RETAILERS AND NOT A SINGLE EXTRA PENNY FOR POLICE OR HEALTH SERVICE
Commenting on news that the SNP government is to set a minimum price for alcohol of 50p per unit, which will generate a windfall for alcohol retailers in excess of £125 million, Scottish Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister and former addictions specialist, Dr Richard Simpson MSP, said:
“Scottish Labour has made clear that we would support the Bill if the SNP government accepted our proposals to claw back all of the multi-million pound windfall the policy generates.
“By setting a minimum price of 50p, it will mean even bigger profits for the big alcohol retailers and not a single extra penny going towards our police or health services that are left to mop up the consequences of alcohol misuse.
“The need to claw back the multi-million windfall is now even more urgent, especially at a time when budgets across the public sector are tight and the SNP is already cutting the alcohol treatment budget by millions of pounds.
“This money could, and we believe absolutely should, be ploughed back into tackling the causes and effects of excessive drinking.
“Analysis based on the Sheffield model suggests the windfall would be £124.5 million per year, while the CBI has suggested it could be in excess of £150 million.
“People will not understand why the SNP are going out of their way to line the pockets of big alcohol retailers, instead of directing this money back to the public purse.”
Responding to SNP claims that the cost of other groceries will fall as a result of the policy, Dr Simpson said:
“The SNP are being fundamentally dishonest about the potential impact this policy will have on the cost on the average weekly shop.
“Experts, including the IFS, have already suggested it is more likely to result in other types of alcohol being discounted rather than food.
“This Health Secretary has already been ridiculed for her bananas claim that bananas would become cheaper and the reality is she has no control over how big retailers will react to this policy.”