SNP Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon will tomorrow announce that Scotland is to adopt a 50p-per-unit minimum alcohol price. The measure is intended to tackle problem drinking by increasing the cost of cheap vodka, lager and cider. The 50p figure is higher than the original 45p proposed by ministers two years ago, and is rumoured to have caused a split within the Scottish cabinet.
The minimum pricing policy will be implemented from next year, making the cheapest bottle of wine £4.69, while a four-pack of lager would cost at least £3.52, and a two-litre bottle of strong cider £6.
While the SNP government says that the pricing policy will save the NHS money and encourage people to live better lives, opposition groups argue that the bill will penalise modest drinkers, enrich supermarkets by creating higher profit margins, and could break EU competition law.
Minimum pricing has been promoted by health campaigners, while the SNP government claims that alcohol abuse is a "brake on Scotland's social and economic growth".
Labour health spokeswoman Jackie Baillie said:
"At a time when public finances are being squeezed, it makes no sense to hand over £100million to supermarket shareholders. We need to invest in alcohol education and treatment."
The Wine and Spirit Trade Association claim that the policy will punish even modest consumers.Will minimum unit pricing policy help solve some of Glasgow's entrenched social and other drink-related problems? Please post your opinion...