|Alcohol abuse commission launched in Scotland|
|Written by Eunice Murrison|
|Wednesday, 09 December 2009 11:14|
The Scottish Labour party, which opposed the SNP’s failed bill to enforce minimum alcohol pricing in Scotland, has set up a commission to tackle alcohol abuse.
Labour MSP and shadow secretary for health, Jackie Baillie, said the commission would study the link between price and consumption, with 36 proposals already on the table.
She said evidence will come from supermarkets, the Scotch Whisky Association and other drinks trade and health professionals, with consideration given to alcohol treatments and price mechanisms, as well as successful overseas models for tackling alcohol abuse.
“For example, in France consumption has dropped from 18 litres per individual per year to 11 – how did they manage that? There is much to be learned,” said Baillie.
She said the Scottish Labour party had seriously considered the SNP’s proposals for minimum unit pricing, but it was an untested and possibly incompetent policy so the challenge was now for Labour to come up with something better.
“It is a Labour commission, but there’s no monopoly on good ideas and we’re happy to work with the Scottish government, although they’ve been less keen to work with us, which is why we’ve been forced to look at alternatives.”
The commission will take six months, commencing in January, with an interim report in March.
Professor Sally Brown, Stirling University emeritus professor, will chair the study. She was deliberately chosen for her objectivity, being independent from both the health profession and the drinks trade.