Commenting on the publication of the new research that for a second time revises down the social and health impact the SNP government’s minimum unit pricing for alcohol policy will have, yet will still boost retailer’s profits by in excess of £100 million per year, Scottish Labour’s Shadow Public Health Minister, Dr Richard Simpson MSP, said:
“Despite the health and social benefits of this policy being watered down every time this research is revised, this latest analysis shows that the big retailers are still set to cash in on a whopping windfall in excess of £100 million.
“As this policy has come under increasing scrutiny, it is becoming increasingly clear that minimum unit pricing will do more to boost the profits of big supermarkets than tackle alcohol misuse, especially amongst young people who binge drink.
“Nicola Sturgeon’s argument that this policy will make bananas cheaper is utterly bananas. If groceries become cheaper, then alcohol becomes more affordable – Nicola Sturgeon has just undermined her own argument. Sheffield University in their own research admit there is little research on how retailers will react to this policy, while the Institute for Fiscal Studies point out it is quite possible that retailers will simply reduce the price of other types of alcohol.
“Scottish Labour is absolutely determined to tackle Scotland’s drink problem, but we do not believe minimum unit pricing is the answer as it will not target problem drinks, will deliver a multi-million windfall for big supermarkets without providing a single extra penny for our NHS and big questions still remain over whether these plans will be struck down in the courts.”