Opposition delays minimum pricing

11 March, 2009

Scotlandís opposition parties have joined forces to delay plans to introduce minimum pricing on alcohol by up to a year, according to national press reports.

The ruling SNP intended to tag the measure on to the existing 2005 Licensing Act, but Labour, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have come together to demand new primary legislation and a full debate in the countryís Parliament.

The alliance was formed at a meeting of party chief whips to decide the Parliamentary timetable.

The move means minimum pricing is unlikely to be introduced before next year.

Mike Rumbles, Scottish Liberal Democrat chief whip, said without primary legislation on the issue, the SNPís full package of measure to tackle alcohol misuse would have been scuppered.

ďThey need to let MSPs scrutinise fully and vote on controversial measures like minimum pricing, which could have a devastating impact on the whisky industry,Ē he told The Telegraph.

The Opposition parties have a majority on the Scottish justice committee which would have had to rubber-stamp the secondary legislation put forward by the SNP.

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