Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament at 3:07 pm on 25th October 2007.

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Photo of Paul Martin Paul Martin Labour 3:07 pm, 25th October 2007

The Executive is to be commended for having a debate on alcohol during alcohol awareness week. It is important that members put on record our appreciation of the large number of organisations that provide support to people who suffer from alcohol abuse. Particular mention should be made of Alcoholics Anonymous, because the evidence that I receive from constituents is that that organisation performs an invaluable role in communities throughout Scotland. It does not receive—nor does it want—a penny of public subsidy for that work. All credit should go to Alcoholics Anonymous.

We welcome the opportunity to develop policies in partnership with the Executive and would like to comment on a number of issues that the cabinet secretary has raised. First, I will respond to his commitment to deal with licensed premises, such as supermarkets, that provide unsuitable displays of alcohol. Many of us, particularly those of us who have children, find it unacceptable that the message that is sent out to communities throughout Scotland is that supermarkets are places to buy cheap drink. We commend the minister for proposing measures that we hope can be enforced effectively.