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Opposition parties at Holyrood have united against the combined might of the Scottish government, police, health officials and charities as arguments over the best way to tackle Scotland’s drink problem continued.

It has emerged that the leaders of the Labour, Tory, Liberal Democrat and Green parties have signed a letter to Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon calling for an alternative approach to the SNP’s minimum price policy.

The opposition group acknowledged the “huge challenged” posed by the nations long running alcohol problem and urged the SNP to ditch the minimum price plan and instead focus on the common ground.

Scotland has record levels of death from liver disease, children are regularly hospitalised after binge drinking and a recent report revealed that alcohol played a part in 14 murders in Strathclyde over the past 10 weeks.

The opposition group said: "It is clear that after the recent vote in the Scottish Parliament there is no majority for minimum unit pricing, but there is a responsibility on all of us to work together to find an alternative that is evidence-based, credible and legally competent.

However the group did admit that pricing had a role to play in tackling the problem and would reduce consumption and harm adding: "As a starting point, we also accept that raising the price of alcohol has a part to play in reducing consumption and therefore harm."

The Labour party have called for caffeine limits to be imposed on alcoholic products in order to address Scotland’s drink culture whilst the Conservatives have urged Holyrood to adopt tax measures from Westminster as a way of raising the price.

Yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon said she had already convened an all-party summit which helped shape policy, but would offer to meet opposition leaders.

She added: "I hope they will also accept the wide consensus amongst health professionals, the police and key parts of the industry that minimum pricing is the most targeted way of addressing price and reducing consumption and harm."

Comments  

 
# Vakov2000 2010-06-27 09:43
Labour's big idea is caffeine limits!!!! Am I missing something that sounds like the policy of a lunatic!
 
 
# The Laird 2010-06-27 10:11
So now the opposition parties know better than Doctors, the Police etc.? Makes you weep, doesn't it? Smells like politics for politics sake to me.
 
 
# mato21 2010-06-27 10:31
Reported in the Mail on Sunday that Alan Johnson apologises for labour failing to tackle binge drinking and praises Theresa May for her plan to ban stores from selling below cost price.It's something we should have done he said.Another case of Labour in Scotland opposing SNP policy for the sake of opposing and for no other reason
 
 
# brusque 2010-06-27 10:52
Am I missing something?

Did Jackie Baillie not instigate a "Specialist Committee" to look at how to progress this serious issue, has that Committee not already made it's recommendations ?

The Health Secretary, Nicola Sturgeon, has been monitoring this issue and taking advice from REAL experts for nearly 2 years, so why would we need to set up yet another "Talking Shop" to give no-marks like Jackie Baillie another chance to sit on her backside humming and hawing about a problem which affects every taxpayer in Scotland and UK wide??. An issue which her colleagues in the South British Branch of the Labour Party seem to understand quite well.

Grievance Politics as practiced by the Scottish Branch of the Labour party, coming to a constituency near you. They are truly dire.
 
 
# 1scot 2010-06-29 19:19
Quoting brusque:
Am I missing something?

Did Jackie Baillie not instigate a "Specialist Committee" to look at how to progress this serious issue, has that Committee not already made it's recommendations ?

The Health Secretary, Nicola Sturgeon, has been monitoring this issue and taking advice from REAL experts for nearly 2 years, so why would we need to set up yet another "Talking Shop" to give no-marks like Jackie Baillie another chance to sit on her backside humming and hawing about a problem which affects every taxpayer in Scotland and UK wide??. An issue which her colleagues in the South British Branch of the Labour Party seem to understand quite well.

Grievance Politics as practiced by the Scottish Branch of the Labour party, coming to a constituency near you. They are truly dire.


I agree they are truly dire, however if the SNP do not get a grip on the media this dire bunch will get back in next year.
 
 
# enneffess 2010-06-27 11:23
I can understand Labour's tactics, but what on earth are the Greens playing at?

Why on earth will they just not try the policy of minimum pricing, and if it fails, so be it. Policies can always be revoked.
 
 
# Vakov2000 2010-06-27 11:41
Labour do love setting up committee's. It's there answer to everything. Instead of addressing a problem set up an expensive committee to hum and haw for a couple of years. Pack it full of Labour members make a nice earning at the taxpayers expense. By the time the committee is ready to report everyone's forgotten what there was a committee for in the first place and the report fizzles out to nothing.
 
 
# birnie 2010-06-27 13:17
Scotland's shame - alcoholism?
Scotland's shame - sectarianism?

None of the above, so much as:

Scotland's true shame - the Labour benches at Holyrood
 
 
# eye_write 2010-06-28 08:51
I agree with all of the above. Labour is much more of an illness in Scotland, as it has a far wider set of disruptive negative consequences. "Well, it's enough to make you sick / To cast a stone and throw a brick / When the sky is falling down / It burned your dreams into the ground" - Life Before the Lobotomy, quite apt for Labour (they're obviously mid lobotomy).
Labour (in my opinion), are the scum of the earth.
 
 
# Mac 2010-06-28 11:36
re: "As a starting point, we (Tories, LibDems, Labour) also accept that raising the price of alcohol has a part to play in reducing consumption and therefore harm"

So please explain what this arguement is all about now that the Tories, the LibDems and Labour accept the link between pricing and alcohol abuse.

The opposition have clearly been playing politics with peoples' lives. That is an utter disgrace.
 
 
# robbie 2010-06-28 15:12
Labour tell big fat lies.

Labours Jackie Bailie is particularly guilty of playing party politics on this issue, she blatantly lied on TV spewing that the SNP claimed minimum pricing was a silver bullet.
 

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