Alcohol (Licensing, Public Health and Criminal Justice) (Scotland) Bill: Stage 1

Part of the debate – in the Scottish Parliament on 4th February 2016.

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Photo of Maureen Watt Maureen Watt Scottish National Party

I am grateful to parliamentary colleagues for their contributions to what has been an interesting, if short, debate. Members have complained about how short the debate has been, but I do not remember any opposition to the Parliamentary Bureau motion that set out the business for today.

First, I say to Jackson Carlaw that if there were a silver bullet I would be up on the ramparts of Edinburgh castle at dawn tomorrow to shoot it. The point is that there is no silver bullet. I am sure that, if there were, we would have found it by now.

The press and the Opposition concentrate on minimum unit pricing, but that is only one of 40 or so measures in the alcohol framework. Much of the work is going on at local and national levels, but it is very much happening under the radar. For example, before Christmas, I was out in a pub in support of the introduction of smaller measures of wines and spirits. I also highlight the Young Scot card, the review of test purchasing and the promoting citizenship through football initiative. I could spend the rest of my time going through the other parts of the alcohol framework that are making progress.

Moreover, although we know that alcohol-related deaths are a huge concern and that we have the worst rates in the whole of the UK, I must point out that we have had the fastest decrease in rates of such deaths since the peak in 2000.