BMA Scotland response to Cross Party Statement on Alcohol
(issued by BMA Scotland Wednesday 04 Aug 2010)
A spokesperson for BMA Scotland said:
“The BMA welcomes the political parties support tougher enforcement of existing licensing laws and we would support the introduction of a mandatory Challenge 25 scheme. However, BMA Scotland does not believe that banning the sale of alcohol below the cost of duty and VAT will make any real difference in tackling Scotland’s problems with alcohol. Under this scheme, many drinks such as supermarket brand vodka and ciders could continue to be sold at ridiculously cheap prices, and in some circumstances could be even cheaper than they are now.
“The opposition parties have all supported this approach but recognise that it is not sufficient and have also called for a review of the taxation system, at a UK level, to ensure duty reflects alcohol content.
“The BMA supports a review of the taxation system (to operate alongside minimum pricing) but is not confident that the UK coalition government will deliver. At the emergency budget in June, the Chancellor reversed the increase in cider duties ensuring that strong, cheap alcohol remained on our supermarket shelves.
“It is disappointing that Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative politicians do not have the courage to take this bold step towards improving Scotland’s health.”
Commenting on Scottish Government proposals to introduce a ‘sunset clause’, the spokesperson added:
"The BMA would welcome the introduction of minimum pricing and a review to evaluate the effectiveness of the policy. The BMA is convinced by the evidence that exists to link price and consumption and from the modelling work undertaken by Sheffield University, that a minimum pricing approach would reduce the social and health harms associated with excessive alcohol consumption, sadly a trademark of Scotland's drinking culture."
For further information please contact:
BMA Scotland Public Affairs Office (Telephone: 0131 247 3050)
14 Queen Street
Evenings and Weekends:
07768 005 850