Scottish government defends silence over minimum pricing

21 December, 2011

The Scottish health minister has come under fire for failing to declare the government’s preferred level for minimum alcohol pricing.

Nicola Sturgeon has been grilled by MSPs who want to know why the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Bill makes no mention of what the price will be. The figure 45p is widely used for illustration purposes but some campaigners say it should be 50p.

Sturgeon said: “Whatever price is set initially, that price will not stay as set forever and it is likely to change over a period of time ...  I guess I am just not convinced it is the right approach to set the initial price in primary legislation.”

Although she said she was convinced the plans complied with the law, she accepted that it was “almost certain” that opponents would mount a legal challenge.

Critics believe the plans breach EU competition laws. Any challenge would have to be aimed at the Westminster government, rather than Holyrood.

Bookmark this

Site Search


English wine: a happy harvest for Christmas

All across England and Wales, vineyards are being harvested. Down winding country lanes come armies of welly-wearing conscripts wielding secateurs and buckets, ready to reap the rewards of our vines. Happily they come, their cheeks ruddy with pride. Half an hour later they’re crawling over muddy clods with lacerated hands, drenched in claggy juice and cold sweat, as if ploughing through an endurance race.

Click for more »
Upcoming events


Is blended Scotch overshadowed by single malt in retailers?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don't know