Paul Waterson Chief Executive of The Scottish Licensed Trade Association responds to today’s decision on Minimum Unit Pricing.
“My association has been arguing for price controls on alcohol since Retail Price Maintenance on Alcohol was abolished in the late 1960’s. So today is the end of a long journey for us. Needless to say we are delighted that this positive decision has finally been reached.”
“Alcohol consumption in the UK has more than doubled over the last 40 years. As consumption has increased, so has alcohol related harm. The consequences of this abuse affects all of us, and costs society more than £2 billion a year.”
Waterson continued “The relationship between low prices and increased consumption is obvious. Supermarkets strategy of using alcohol as a loss leader, very often charging prices cheaper than water, which is totally irresponsible, is a major factor in causing much of the alcohol abuse we see in Scotland today.”
“Minimum pricing will be a major element in eradicating these problems.”
“Cheap priced alcohol has turned Scotland into a nation of stay at home drinkers. 72% of total alcohol sales in Scotland are off sales, 80% of this total is sold by supermarkets. When people drink in uncontrolled environments alcohol related problems increase significantly.”
He concluded, “Our market needed intervention to bring back price stability. The market could not correct itself – it needed robust government action. The only efficient way of doing that is by minimum pricing. We applaud the Scottish Government for their policy .”
“Already this year we have seen in the run up to Christmas many television adverts advertising irresponsible supermarket deals on alcohol which will seduce people into drinking more than they would normally. Thanks to this legislation loss leading of alcohol at child friendly prices will become a thing of the past.”