With all the news of ”The Seige of Millbank” today… important news north of the border may go unreported…
Today the Scottish Parliament voted against the SNPs last gasp attempt to introduce minimum pricing of alcohol. In a rare (and much welcomed) show of unity Labour, the Lib Dems and Conservatives stood together in determining that a minimum price was potentially illegal (probably), could lead to cross-border “booze runs” (almost certainly) and would unfairly penalise responsible drinkers (definitely).
MSPs also voted down proposals to stop retailers giving loyalty points for alcohol, and offering discount vouchers or “meal deals” including alcohol. They also rejected proposals to increase the legal age at which alcohol can be bought from shops from 18 to 21 ( probably a wise move given today’s events…..)
A sudden and rare show of sanity? Maybe..or maybe it really was party politics at work?
Either way this is an important win for those of us who are sick and tired of being told what we should and shouldn’t do with our hard earned cash. Too many times, where Scotland has gone, England has followed.
But it’s not all good news….. On the down-side, Holyrood did support extending a ban on “irresponsible” drinks promotions (to you and I that means banning shops from offering discounted bulk-buying and cheap drinks promotions ).. and a ban on supermarkets advertising alcohol inside or outside their stores.
Perhaps most disappointing, MSP also voted to allow local councils to introduce a new, discretionary “social responsibility” tax on shops in areas “troubled by drunkenness and alcoholism”. This seems to be little more that giving councils a license to tax those selling alcohol (I cannot find anything anywhere right now that explains how they will measure or implement that) . A revenue-raising opportunity for councils if ever there was one?
So a cheer for the fact that the insane plan of the SNP to implement a blanket “minimum price on alcohol” has been overturned. Lets hope that the local councils “social responsibility tax” doesn’t tax independent shops, off licences and pubs out of existence.