15 Mar 2012

SNP MSP for Glasgow Shettleston, John Mason, today called on the Labour Party in the East End to clarify whether or not they support legislation to tackle the availability of ultra-cheap alcohol, following last night’s vote in the Scottish Parliament, when minimum pricing was supported by every party except Labour, who abstained.

The Labour MSP for Edinburgh North, Malcolm Chisholm, voted with the SNP Government, and a Glasgow Labour council candidate for Partick West, Michael Shanks, last night rebelled against his party by posting on twitter: “I don’t often disagree with my party but on this I’ll say: I do not support Labour’s position on minimum pricing”.
John Mason, MSP for the East End, said:

“I believe the time has come for Scotland to tackle the problems that come as an inevitable result of being able to buy two litres of white cider for less than the same amount of lemonade.

“Yesterday saw legislation to enforce a minimum price for alcohol pass its first stage in the Scottish Parliament. We have to promote a more responsible culture around alcohol in Scotland if we are going to address the damage that problem drinking does to families and communities, a problem from which the East End is certainly not immune. In Scotland, 3,000 people die each year and 40,000 are admitted to hospital as a result of alcohol abuse. We need to take action.

“Minimum pricing is unlikely to affect the cost of a pint in a pub, but it will, I hope, limit the availability of ridiculously cheap alcohol from some shops.

“This is legislation which is supported by the health service, police, churches, charities and everyone in the Scottish Parliament, it would now seem, with the sole exception of the Labour Party. Their attitude in blocking this legislation throughout the last Parliament, and still unable to bring themselves to vote for it now, is incomprehensible, but their view will not prevail on this issue”.