Page last updated at 12:30 GMT, Wednesday, 22 September 2010 13:30 UK

Health Committee

Scottish government plans for a minimum unit price for alcohol were defeated by the Health Committee on 22 September 2010.

An amendment tabled by Conservative MSP Mary Scanlon, which sought to strike out the section of the Alcohol Bill dealing with minimum pricing, was backed by all five opposition MSPs on the committee, with the three SNP MSPs voting against it.

Ms Scanlon told the committee the policy of minimum pricing had not been backed sufficiently by the evidence the committee had scrutinised.

She said the policy would penalise responsible drinkers, the whisky industry, cost jobs and would be questionable under EU law.

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon told the committee the government would make one last attempt to re-insert minimum pricing in the bill during its final vote in parliament.

Earlier she had tried to secure opposition backing for minimum pricing by proposing a "sunset clause" in the legislation, which would review the policy after six years.

Ms Sturgeon said she regretted that the opposition parties decided to oppose minimum pricing before the Health Committee had "heard a shred of evidence".

The Scottish government had argued a minimum price of 45p for a unit of alcohol would mean 1,200 fewer hospital admissions, a £5.5m fall in health care costs, 50 fewer deaths and nearly 23,000 fewer days absent from work in the first year.

Health Committee membership

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