Page last updated at 13:29 GMT, Thursday, 10 June 2010 14:29 UK

Alcohol Bill debate

MSPs voted against SNP plans to introduce a minimum price for alcohol at decision time.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon had called on MSPs to back the general principles of the Alcohol (Scotland) Bill , which included the controversial policy of minimum-pricing, on 10 June 2010.

Minimum pricing was backed by the police, doctors, nurse, public health experts and all four chief medical officers in the UK, Ms Sturgeon told the chamber.

The health secretary committed to introduce the details of the planned unit price for alcohol for the second stage of parliamentary scrutiny of the legislation.

However Conservative health spokesman Murdo Fraser tabled an amendment, during the debate, which called on the Scottish government to drop the policy and this was carried at decision time.

Mr Fraser said minimum pricing "would penalise responsible drinkers, is of dubious legality, and would do serious damage to the vital Scotch Whisky Industry and Scotland's economic interests."

He had called on the health secretary to put the legislation on hold until the UK coalition government's budget, when details of an increase in alcohol taxation and pricing would be revealed.

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Ross Finnie said the Health Committee had been "hampered" in its efforts to scrutinise the legislation without a specific minimum unit price.

Labour's Dr Richard Simpson said there was a lack of evidence for minimum pricing and the policy was unacceptable.

The Alcohol Bill is part of the Scottish government's attempt to address alcohol-related harm by implementing a minimum pricing policy, banning drink promotions, raising the age for buying drink and introducing a social responsibility fee for retailers.


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