Alcohol : ask the people, says MSP

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has called for the public to be properly consulted before alcohol laws are changed.

“We do need to make people more aware of the health implications of excessive drinking, and we do need to crackdown on anti-social drinking, but we shouldn’t penalise people just because they drink.

“I believe that the current proposals are a very blunt instrument that will affect many people without good cause, and may do little to tackle the real problems.

“I do not believe that they should be introduced without proper parliamentary scrutiny and public consultation, such as would be necessary if this were put forward as legislation. People deserve to have a say, as consumers and as producers – this could have a very negative impact on Scottish industry, particularly in the current economic climate.

“Knee jerk solutions can create more problems than they solve. Tackling problem alcohol use needs a considered approach. The previous administration brought in tough licensing laws, which the SNP have still to implement. We should make challenge 21 mandatory and we should crackdown on those unscrupulous sellers who sell to under 18s. I don’t see the sense in bypassing the targetted measures that were agreed in order to adopt a scattergun approach.

“I recently read about a survey in Polmont Young Offenders Institute, which suggests that raising the drinking age and minimum pricing would have no impact on youth violence. It also revealed that 43% had drunk Buckfast immediately prior to their offence. This is interesting, not least because Buckfast would not be affected by minimum pricing, even at 50p a unit. Perhaps it would be more useful to look into the psychological effect of taking a lot of caffeine and alcohol together.

“The Scottish Government may be reluctant to give people their say, but I want to hear from constituents. Please let me know what your views are on these issues.”


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