Members’ Bill to improve Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol

Today, Dr Richard Simpson MSP, a former GP and consultant psychiatrist in addictions, has introduced a Member’s Bill in the Scottish Parliament to help change the culture towards alcohol in Scotland.

Alcohol misuse and its consequence for health and community safety remains a significant challenge throughout the UK. The Scottish Labour Shadow Minister for Public Health has brought forward the proposal to help change the relationship with alcohol in Scotland. The introduced Bill contains 10 measures spanning public health and justice policy.

On 13th March 2012, Dr Richard Simpson MSP formally lodged his intention to introduce a Members’ Bill in the Scottish Parliament and it had soon secured the cross party support required to introduce the Bill.

The bill to promote public health and reduce alcohol-related offending through restrictions on the retailing and advertising of alcoholic drinks; changes to licensing laws; obligations on Scottish Ministers to issue guidance and report on its alcohol education policy; and directing certain offenders towards treatment or restricting their alcohol consumption.

This is the largest Member’s Bill to be introduced in the Scottish Parliament to date. A Member’s Bill follows a 3-stage scrutiny process, during which it may be amended or rejected outright. If it is passed at the end of the process, it becomes an Act.

Dr Richard Simpson MSP, said:

“I am delighted to be introducing my Bill in the Scottish Parliament today. Scotland has a particularly difficult relationship with alcohol and this complex Bill is a comprehensive approach to take us another step down the line to improving Scotland’s relationship with alcohol.

“It will be a positive contribution to Scotland’s culture and a reduction in alcohol consumption, when these fair, workable and effective measures are implemented in to law. I believe that with the minimum unit pricing, and the legislation still being suspended in the European Court, this Bill is even more important.

“There are members across all political parties determined to tackle Scotland’s drink problem, however in order to be successful a shift in Scotland’s culture is essential, therefore I am hoping Members will support my bill as action needs to be taken now.

“The Bill strengthens elements which are vital in order to shift the alcohol culture in Scotland. With Scotland’s alcohol consumption per head amongst highest in the world, we cannot afford to wait any longer on this issue.”

ENDS

Note to Editors:

Please find the link to the Member’s Bill below:
http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/S4_Bills/Alcohol%20(Licensing%20Public%20Health%20and%20Criminal%20Justice)%20(Scotland)%20Bill/b65s4-introd.pdf