Scottish Health Committee Votes against Minimum Pricing of Alcohol

The SNP’s ruling to set a 45p-per-unit minimum price for alcohol has been declined by the Scottish Parliament’s Health & Sport Committee.

To set the minimum price for alcohol was included in the Alcohol Bill, which is a part of the Government amendment at Stage 2. The committee debated over this bill and finally it was crushed by a 5-3 vote.

The Government would propose a further amendment to include the pricing at stage 3 of the Bill to get it approved by the Parliament, as stated by Nicola Sturgeon, Health Minister.

In the committee meeting, she expressed that she repented that the opposition party didn’t go through the evidences of the minimum pricing of alcohol, before coming to the verdict. She added that she was always open to options, but no one came up with any alternative. She put forth a “sunset clause”, according to which the measure would automatically be evaluated after six years. But, a committee member raised apprehensions over the same.

“By taking minimum pricing out of the bill you take away one of the most important tools in the box to deal with this issue, which is affordability”, said SNP member Michael Matheson.

But, Rhoda Grant, Labor MSP told that the sunset clause would entice more people to take alcohol at affordable prices, after six years.