Beadles attacks 'strange' Scottish proposals

06 March, 2009

Wine & Spirit Trade Association chief executive Jeremy Beadles has accused the Scottish government of "confusing being tough with having a serious platform".

In an article in today's Scotsman newspaper, Beadles attacks plans for minimum pricing and proposed powers for local authorities to raise the legal purchasing age to 21.

He writes: "Even now, nine months since suggestions of minimum pricing first emerged in Scotland, the Government has not published details of how it intends to satisfy competition law, and specifically the UK's obligations under the European Competition Treaty.

"Kenny MacAskill continues to claim that the Government is confident of both parliamentary and legal approval. If there's so much confidence then why not spell out the means and the rate you're planning to set the price at?"

He adds: "The loudest voices in the health lobby are advocating a minimum price of anything from 50 pence to 80 pence per unit. That would put an average bottle of wine at anything from £5 to £8 – maybe not too much for a health professional or even, dare I say it, a politician, but a significant dent in the average family's shopping bill."

Beadles also raises the possibility of the minimum price escalating. He writes:

"If, after a few months, minimum pricing was not considered to be achieving its objective, would politicians abandon it or simply raise the price?"

Beadles calls for improved alcohol education and the enforcement of existing laws designed to prevent alcohol misuse and illegal sales.

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