BMA laments 'indecision' over minimum alcohol price

The BMA has criticised a health committee report on Scotland's forthcoming Alcohol Bill, saying members of the Scottish parliament (MSPs) have failed to give a united line on minimum price despite 'strong evidence' in its favour.

Proposed legislation seeks to introduce a minimum price for alcohol in Scotland, as well as other measures to tackle Scotland's alcohol burden.

But a Scottish Parliament health committee report into evidence for the legislation fails to give clear guidance on how to progress the bill, claimed BMA chairman Dr Brian Keighley.

He said: ‘It is disappointing that the strong evidence presented to the Health Committee has not persuaded all members of the case for minimum pricing.'

The report concludes that while all members of the health committee agree the scale of the alcohol problem needs addressing, some members disagree over whether aspects of the bill will have the intended effect.

However, Dr Keighley said he welcomed the recognition that pricing was a key issue in addressing  Scotland's culture of heavy drinking.

Dr Keighley added: ‘As we approach the first vote on this bill, I would urge MSPs to put aside party differences and vote for health by progressing this legislation to the next stage.'

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