Full debate on booze prices, not half measures

For immediate release 1 November 2011

The Green MSPs today welcomed the announcement that Scottish Ministers would bring back legislation to introduce a minimum price for alcohol. Greens were the only opposition party to support the Scottish Government's proposals during the previous Holyrood session, and the party continues to accept the evidence of substantial social and health benefits as presented by the Health Secretary. However, Greens believe the scope of the SNP's proposals would prevent Parliament considering other proposals in this area, including ideas from Labour as well as from the Greens.

Patrick MSP said:

"The evidence presented on alcohol pricing last session was robust and convincing, and we're still convinced. A minimum price for alcohol will help tackle irresponsible drinking and deliver substantial health benefits. Their intransigence on this issue undoubtedly hurt the other opposition parties in May's election, and they would be well advised to take a more responsible attitude this time round.

"However, SNP Ministers could and should go further than the half measures they're proposing today. They have a strong democratic mandate but they also pledged to govern inclusively. It's not too late for Ministers to allow new ideas into this bill, to focus the response on the harm caused by big business while protecting community pubs and small producers, the businesses which make their living from quality instead of volume sales. Labour also have a strong case for measures to control caffeinated alcohol."