Thursday, 18 October 2012
Minimum Pricing Halted
My views on a minimum price for alcohol in Scotland haven't changed since I wrote this post and the weekly propaganda fed to us through the media, although that particular article had to alter its figures. In an earlier scaremongering article it was claimed that 50,000 elderly people in England and Wales were dying each year from the effects of alcohol. However, the BBC has been forced to amend the figure to 11,500 'after it emerged that there had been an error in the calculations carried out for Panorama by the School of Health and Related Research at the University of Sheffield'.
Sheffield University compiled the report for the Scottish Government and the result was a Bill proposing a 50p minimum price per unit of alcohol.
I've long argued that this policy will not be the panacea our politicians will have us believe and would much prefer for existing legislation to be used before adding another tier to the present laws.
Also it concerned me the speed at which the policy was to be introduced with little or no examination.
Therefore, I welcomed the challenges made by the Scotch Whisky Association and others, because the court procedures would ensure the details of the Bill were examined thoroughly.
Earlier this week the Scottish Government announced it will not be introducing the new law until the various legal cases brought against it are settled in court. The decision means that the law, which was supposed to come in to force in the spring, as now been postponed with no date set for its introduction.
There is no doubt Scotland has a problem with alcohol consumption and I admire the Scottish Government for highlighting the problem, but such a singular solution such as increasing the price, will make little difference to the amount consumed. Those who do have a problem with drink regardless and others who enjoy a social drink will continue to do so.
The SWA will shortly pursue a judicial review of the legislation in the Court of Session in Edinburgh. The results may change my opinion as I'm happy to be convinced my present stance is wrong.