Linda Fabiani MSP for East Kilbride has welcomed the passing of the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Bill at stage one in the Scottish Parliament.
It was passed despite 32 Labour MSPs abstaining, while senior Labour MSP and former Health Minister Malcolm Chisholm voted in favour of the Bill.
Linda said “This is the next step in tackling Scotland’s harmful relationship with alcohol, and I’m delighted that the majority of parties backed the bill at stage one.
“Addressing the link between price of high-strength alcohol and consumption is vital, and we will be able to do this through minimum pricing.
“As a former Health Minister, Malcolm Chisholm recognises the importance of minimum pricing and voted for it – which just reveals the extent to which Labour as a whole are still putting party politics ahead of public health in refusing to back minimum pricing.
“Presently, a young person can consume enough alcohol to kill themselves for £5 – you cannot even get into the cinema for that. Something has to be done.
“The report from the University of Sheffield shows that responsible, moderate drinkers will not be penalised by the introduction of minimum pricing. As the Scottish Government intends, the policy will target those whose use of alcohol is heaviest and most harmful. Heavy drinkers will be pay £132 extra year, in comparison to moderate drinkers who will only pay £9 extra a year.
“We have said that it is not a magic bullet that will solve all of our alcohol problems, but it is a vital part of addressing the issue of Scotland’s unhealthy relationship with alcohol.”
Notes: 86 MSPs voted yes for the Bill and there were 32 abstentions.