Further measures needed to tackle Scotland's alcohol crisis
Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS) is urging the Scottish Government to outlaw cut price deals and banning major event advertising by drink companies in a bid to tackle the country’s booze problem.
Changing Scotland’s Relationship with Alcohol, a report which Alcohol Focus contributed to, is expected to be passed by ministers by the end of the month and includes recommendations for stopping shops as well as banning drinks firms from sponsoring major events in Scotland, including sports and music festivals.
In 2011, shops in Scotland were banned from offering drinks promotions including buy-one-get-one-free and multi-buy discounts.
Holyrood are locked in a legal battle over their minimum alcohol pricing policy. A decision on whether it can go ahead will be made at the Supreme Court in London in the coming months and retailers fear minimum pricing would hit sensible drinkers in the pocket.
AFS chief executive Alison Douglas, said: “To reduce the immense harm caused to people’s health, their families and our communities, we need to increase the price of the cheapest alcohol.
"Shops and supermarkets constantly promote alcohol on the basis of price alone but alcohol isn’t like other groceries.
“It is an age-restricted, addictive product that causes a great deal of harm, so promoting ‘great prices’ and ‘special offers’ should be prohibited because it manipulates consumers into buying more.”
However Ewan Macdonald-Russell, head of policy at the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) said: “Scotland already has a restrictive and complicated licensing regime which restricts the manner and approach retailers can take to promoting alcohol products.
“These proposals are unlikely to have a significant effect on the problems of alcohol abuse but will definitely hit ordinary Scots who are just looking for a good deal on their weekly bottle of wine.”