A report from Edinburgh University which suggests that minimum pricing of alcohol would help stem alcohol abuse in Scotland has been welcomed by the SNP.
MSP Michael Matheson has said that the study, which indicates that chronic drinkers use cheap alcohol to fuel their habits, is evidence of the need for further measures aimed at tackling the countries alcohol problems.
Matheson said: “There is a clear correlation between price and alcohol consumption. This study reveals the strength of this link, particularly where drinking is causing serious health problems.”
The research focused on a sample of 377 problem drinkers, finding that the average price per unit of alcohol consumed by was much lower than the average throughout the country.
70 per cent of the alcohol consumed by the sample was bought for less that 40 pence per cent, whilst the national average price paid was 72 pence.
Matheson added: “With the majority of alcohol drunk by those with serious problems available for less than 40 p per unit there can be no denying the important impact minimum pricing could have on Scotland’s health.
“Minimum pricing will have an impact where it matters most –in reducing the availability of the pocket money priced alcohol that causes much of the health and social harm.”
The Scottish Government is due to announce plans to introduce minimum pricing regulations later in the
year, but faces opposition from both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrat.
The proposed move has also been attacked by the The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has said that the move could have serious ramifications for Scottish business.. WSTA Chief Executive Jeremy Beadles told the Daily Record:
“The Scottish government is preparing to hand England a massive competitive advantage.
“Their Bill could push huge numbers of Scots to buy alcohol south of the Border.”