Scots pose local under-21 ban
Published:  17 September, 2010

Plans to allow Scottish licensing boards to introduce local bans on off-sales to under-21s have been condemned by the Labour Party and the National Union of Students.

The ruling SNP has included the measure for local powers in its Alcohol Bill, even though the Scottish parliament has already thrown out a previous plan to introduce the ban nationally.

Labour health spokesman Richard Simpson has tabled an amendment to the current Alcohol Bill to remove the proposed licensing board powers.

NUS Scotland President Liam Burns said: “The idea of banning people under the age of 21 from buying alcohol has always been unfair and discriminatory.

“Local changes in age restrictions for alcohol would be entirely unworkable and, given they could be done without consultation, entirely undemocratic.”?Simpson said: “If someone is responsible enough to vote they should also be able to buy a bottle of wine.”?A further Labour amendment aims to introduce a ban on alcoholic drinks with high caffeine content, which effectively outlaws products such as Buckfast.

The amendments came as the SNP revealed 45p-per-unit as its preferred option for minimum pricing, the most high-profile and controversial section of the bill, and one which has also been defeated in a vote in Parliament.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon is reintroducing the measure as a further amendment to the bill and said the move would save lives and money.

abour has suggested a ban on below-cost sales as an alternative.

Wine & Spirit Trade Association spokesman Gavin Partington said: “Setting a minimum price at 45p doesn’t alter the fact that minimum pricing is wrong in principle. It won’t tackle alcohol misuse but will punish those on low incomes.

An amendment from an SNP backbencher proposes a ban on sales of alcohol with supermarket loyalty cards and meal deals.

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