Scotland

In quotes: 45p alcohol plan response

The Scottish government has said it wants to introduce a 45p minimum price for every unit of alcohol sold in Scotland.

The controversial plan is backed by the British Medical Association, the Royal College of Physicians and Alcohol Concern but opposed by Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats at Holyrood.

Nicola Sturgeon MSP, Scottish health secretary

For too long, too many Scots have been drinking themselves into an early grave. It is no coincidence that as the affordability of alcohol has plummeted in recent decades, alcohol-related deaths, disease, crime and disorder have spiralled.

Jackie Baillie MSP, Labour health spokeswoman

The SNP have got this one badly wrong. A minimum price of 45p per unit will make no difference to the cost of problem drinks, like Buckfast, but it will punish pensioners and people on low incomes.

Robert Brown MSP, Liberal Democrat justice spokesman

The SNP have taken a very narrow view of the whole process, totally ignoring much more effective solutions which would cover the entire UK, something which the coalition government is already considering.

They clearly prefer a pricing mechanism that stops artificially at the border.

Gavin Hewitt, chief executive Scottish Whisky Association

The Scottish government's scheme fails to meet the basic tests of EU law and will do little to address alcohol misuse. This policy would, however, significantly damage Scotch Whisky at home and abroad.

Dr Evelyn Gillan, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland

This will have a significant impact on both consumption and harm. We hope that all politicians will get behind this policy now which will save 50 lives in the first year.

There are no other measures on the table that will have the same impact on reducing harm. It's time for politicians to stop bickering and legislate in the public health interest.

Gavin Partington, Wine and Spirit Trade Association

Setting a minimum price at 45p doesn't alter the fact that minimum pricing is wrong in principle. It won't tackle alcohol misuse but will punish families on low incomes and pensioners.

Dr Harry Burns, Scotland's chief medical officer

Scotland has an unenviable reputation when it comes to alcohol. We are, sadly, world-class when it comes to damaging our health through heavy drinking.

But that can change. Scotland led the way in the UK when it came to banning smoking in public places and I believe we must also lead the way in introducing a minimum price for alcohol.

Murdo Fraser MSP, Conservative health and wellbeing spokesman

The supermarkets will be jumping up and down with glee at the tens of millions of pounds of extra profits they would stand to make as ordinary people are forced to pay more for a bottle of wine or scotch.

Unfortunately for them, it's not going to happen.

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