WSTA for 12-week consultation on UK's minimum unit price proposal
The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has said that the UK Parliament needs to hold 12 weeks of consultation on minimum unit pricing (MUP) of alcohol in the wake of opposition to the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Bill.
The Scottish bill, which was passed in May 2012 and ratified with Royal assent in June, has proposed MUP of £0.50 on alcohol. The government says that it will reduce the consumption of alcohol and thus cut the health and medical costs.
The UK Government plans to introduce MUP in England and Wales as well after consultations. The WSTA predicts that the consultations might end much before the time of Christmas and, therefore, urges the Parliament to have consultations for 12 full weeks.
The Scottish Act has been opposed by the European Commission and several countries in the region including Spain, Italy, Portugal, France and Bulgaria.
In view of the formal opinions being lodged by various countries, the Commission has extended the complaints process from September 27 till the end of the year, and will also seek a justification from the UK Government on the Scottish legislation.
WSTA CEO Miles Beale said: "Whilst the legality of the Scottish Government's proposals is in question any notion of a short consultation here is totally inappropriate."
The WSTA represents over 340 companies that are into production, import, transport and sale of wines and spirits in the UK.