Support grows for SNP alcohol plans


Michael Matheson MSP today welcomed the support of
the Chief Medical Officer for England and Wales for the introduction of minimum

In his report Sir Liam Donaldson states “As an
immediate priority the government should introduce minimum pricing per unit as a
means of reducing consumption of alcohol and its associated

Initial responses from UK Cabinet Ministers
supported consideration of the issue, UK Liberal Democrats have firmly supported
minimum pricing and backed the Chief Medical Officer – where Scottish Liberal
Democrats are split on the subject.

Mr Matheson, a member of the Scottish Parliament’s
Health Committee said;

“Sir Liam’s report has set the cat among the
Westminster pigeons.

“Where the Liberal Democrats have a clear,
consistent and very welcome policy in London they are currently at odds in

“Where Labour are currently taking a purely
oppositionist line in Scotland the initial acceptance of Sir Liam’s report by UK
Cabinet ministers shows there are some in the UK Labour party that understand
the importance and urgent need to tackle the problem of alcohol – something
Richard Baker could do with learning.

“With health experts in Scotland and England
supporting minimum pricing, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, Scotland’s
police forces and doctors backing the introduction of a minimum price it is time
for action.

“Far from punishing responsible drinkers the
evidence shows that it is heavy drinkers whose consumption will reduce

“The opposition parties in Scotland must look
seriously at this issue and listen to the health organisations and police
service rather than the self interest of supermarkets and the drinks

“Scotland’s Lib Dem and Labour MSPs should look at
the evidence, listen to the health and justice professionals and support both
medical officers and their colleagues in bringing our relationship with alcohol
under control.”

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