MSPs divided on alcohol pricing

Bottles of alcoholThe health committee will outline its views on the alcohol bill

Holyrood's health committee will publish its long-awaited report on the Scottish government's alcohol bill.

But it is thought the findings will show MSPs divided over the key measure of minimum pricing.

Doctors, the police and the licensed trade back the government's plans to set a minimum price per unit of alcohol, but opposition parties are worried about the measure.

They have said it would also punish responsible drinkers.

The health secretary, Nicola Sturgeon, believes minimum pricing will help to reduce consumption, especially among problem drinkers.

She has said in the past that the government needed to take "radical action" to cut the £2.25bn cost of alcohol misuse to Scotland.

The report, due to be published on Thursday morning, is set to recommend support for the general principles of the bill.

Tonic wine

However, committee members are likely to urge the government to publish its preferred cost per unit of alcohol before MSPs decide on how to go forward.

The report comes the day after Scottish Labour published the findings of its Alcohol Commission.

The recommendations included a legal limit on the caffeine content of alcoholic drinks – which would effectively ban the tonic wine Buckfast.

The party hopes to amend the forthcoming alcohol bill to stop drinks firms using more than 150 milligrams of caffeine per litre of alcohol.

Buckfast currently contains two-and-a-half times that amount.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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