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Parliament passes Alcohol Bill

10/11/2010

The battle against Scotland's unhealthy relationship with alcohol took another step forward today as MSPs approved the Alcohol etc (Scotland) Bill.

But Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon was disappointed that the main opposition parties failed to back proposals to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol.

As passed, the bill will:

  • Ban quantity discounts such as 'three for two' or '25 per cent off when you buy six'
  • Restrict alcohol promotions in off-sales
  • Introduce a Challenge 25 age verification scheme for all licensed premises
  • Pave the way for the introduction of a social responsibility levy to ensure those who profit from the sale of alcohol also put something back into the community

Ms Sturgeon said:

"I am disappointed that the legislation we have passed today is not as strong as we would have liked or as it could have been. It has, undoubtedly, been diluted through the absence of minimum pricing, which would save lives and reduce crime.

"However we should not lose sight of what has been achieved. We have had a wide-ranging debate on alcohol pricing and there is now widespread recognition across the country of the need to tackle pricing - though, sadly, support was lacking in parliament today.

"This legislation is also just part of the work ongoing in Scotland to tackle our unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Our Alcohol Framework is a comprehensive package of more than 40 measures and we are making significant progress to implement these.

"We have also invested a record £100 million in prevention, treatment and support services over the last three years.

"I believe this bill is an important milestone towards changing Scotland's relationship with alcohol. But I am also clear that the journey is not over. There is more work to be done and we will not shirk from leading the way in addressing this challenge."