Eurocare strongly supports the introduction of minimum pricing in Scotland
The UK Government has notified the European Commission about Scotland’s intention to introduce a 50 pence minimum price for alcohol.
The EC Commission has begun a consultation on the measures, Member States and stakeholders have until the 26th of September to raise their concerns about the potential barriers to trade within the Community.
As expected, a significant number of alcohol producers worldwide have already addressed letters to the European Commission challenging the proposed minimum pricing initiative.
The new measures setting the first legally-binding minimum price within the European Union will stop supermarkets, shops and pubs from selling alcohol under the 50pence a unit level.
Minimum pricing is a key part of a wider strategy. The Scottish Government’s alcohol strategy (“Changing Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action”, published in 2009) sets out over 40 measures aimed at addressing alcohol-related harm and is closely aligned with the World Health Organisation’s Global strategy to reduce harmful use of alcohol.
Minimum pricing aims to reduce alcohol consumption across the Scottish population to improve public health and attain social benefits in the areas of crime, public services, productivity and the economy as a whole.
At a population level, low prices and the increasingly diverse forms of marketing fuel consumption and thus alcohol related health and social harm. British supermarkets now sell beer more cheaply than bottled water. High street convenience shops have entire walls lined with cheap alcohol.
Cheaper alcohol tends to be bought more by harmful drinkers than moderate drinkers, and is shown to be attractive to young people and those under the legal age. So a minimum price policy is beneficial in that it targets the drinkers causing the most harm to both themselves and society whilst having little effect on the spending of adult moderate drinkers.
The University of Sheffield research (for England & Wales) shows that there would be a £12.93bn value of harm reduction (employment, criminal justice, health etc.,) if minimum pricing was set at 50p per unit.
The Eurocare Secretariat encourages those supporting Scotland’s initiative to write to the European Commission - DG Enterprise and Industry Vice President, Mr Antonio Tajani, and to the Head of Unit for Regulatory Policy Mr Guiseppe Casella
Please see below for the details of the notification document submitted by the UK government:
Notification Number: 2012/394/UK
Date received: 25-Jun-2012
End of Standstill Period: 26-Sep-2012
Title: The Alcohol (Minimum Price per Unit) (Scotland) Order 2013
Draft Text :To consult the full text of the draft proposal click here
Contact point Directive 98/34
Fax: (32-2) 296 76 60
The technical standards and regulations Directive 98/34/EC (as amended by Directive 98/48/EC) requires Member States to notify technical regulations relating to products to the Commission in draft, and to observe a standstill period of at least three months before adopting the regulation, in order to allow other Member States and the Commission an opportunity to raise concerns about creation of new technical barriers to trade within the Community.
 Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Bill: