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The Scottish Government’s position has always been that we will not introduce the social responsibility levy during the lifetime of the public health supplement and until the economic circumstances are correct. The public health supplement has now concluded and the Government will consider in due course whether there is a case to apply a social responsibility levy, for which legislative provision exists.
Given the significant shift in drinking patterns from on-sales to the off-sales trade, with 72 per cent now provided by the off-sales trade compared with 49 per cent in 1994, will the Scottish Government ensure that actions target where the major source of the problem of alcohol abuse lies?
Mr MacAskill marshals the significant pieces of evidence in relation to the argument. He has a long-standing and much respected reputation for confronting the issues and leading policy discussion on alcohol abuse and the consequent, knock-on behaviour that arises from it. I assure him that the evidence that he cited and the points that have been raised as a consequence will be part of the Government’s consideration of how to take the issue forward.