Scotland politics

Health secretary Sturgeon ponders drink price rate

The Scottish government is currently revising its plans to set a minimum unit price for alcohol, Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon has said.

The SNP brought back legislation to set a floor price after failing to persuade opposition parties in the last parliamentary session.

Ministers set the price at 45p the last time round, but are currently assessing whether that needs to change.

Ms Sturgeon said she hoped the decision could be made quickly.

She told the Scottish Parliament's subordinate legislation committee: "Why we are not sticking with 45 pence, is that the information and the reality that we're dealing with has changed in certain respects since then.

"We just need to make that decision based on the up-to-date information, so we will do that as quickly as we can, based on that information and make that available to parliament."

Parliament voted down minimum drink pricing in 2010, after opposition parties said the move penalised responsible drinkers and may be illegal under competition law.

Now in majority government, SNP ministers have enough support to pass the plans.

Ms Sturgeon said minimum pricing was an essential part of wider attempts to tackle Scotland's unhealthy relationship with drink.

Under the government's previous plan to set the the unit price was set at 45p, the cost of a 700ml bottle of 37.5% ABV spirits would have cost £11.82, while a 500ml can of super-strength 9% beer would have been £2.03.

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