Views sought on proposed alcohol legislation

People across Scotland are being asked their views on proposed legislation which could have an impact on the sale and advertising of alcohol, and lead to changes in licensing laws.

Thursday, 14th May 2015, 3:03 pm
Proposed legislation put forward by Dr Richard Simpson would place restrictions on the retail and advertising of alcoholic drinks.

The Alcohol (Licensing, Public Health and Criminal Justice) (Scotland) Bill was introduced at the Scottish Parliament by Mid Scotland and Fife Labour MSP Dr Richard Simpson, who is concerned about the over-consumption of alcohol in Scotland.

It’s currently being scrutinised by the Parliament’s health and sport committee, which has issued a call for views on the proposals.

Duncan McNeil MSP, convener of the committee, said: “This Bill contains many wide ranging provisions, including measures which aim to tackle underage drinking, restrictions on advertising alcoholic drinks and a focus on providing alcohol awareness training.

“The misuse of alcohol has a devastating impact both on communities and individuals across Scotland. However, it is the role of this committee to look at the detail behind the proposals and determine if this legislation would make a positive difference.”

Dr Simpson says this Bill has two main aims – to improve public health by discouraging irresponsible alcohol consumption, and to tackle the consequences in terms of anti-social and criminal behaviour.

It contains measures that:

• Place restrictions on the retailing and advertising of alcoholic drinks, including placing a restriction on alcoholic drinks containing caffeine;

• Make changes to licensing laws;

• Place obligations on the Scottish Ministers to publish, review and report on its alcohol education policy; and

• Directs certain people whose offending or anti-social behaviour is attributable to alcohol consumption towards treatment or restrictions on that consumption.

Bob Doris MSP, deputy convener of the committee, said: “Our committee is interested in hearing from a wide range of organisations and individuals on this legislation.

“From GPs and the police, to local authorities and the Scottish Government, this proposed legislation contains many provisions that will impact on these organisations.

“MSPs are also interested in hearing from individuals who have first-hand experience of some of the issues this bill is trying to address.”

The committee is looking for the following questions to be answered:

• Do you support the Bill as a whole?

• Do you support particular provisions in the Bill?

• Do you have concerns about particular provisions in the Bill?

• How will the particular provisions in the Bill fit with your work, or the work of your organisation?

• Will the Bill have financial or resource implications for you or your organisation?

• Do you have any other comments or suggestions relevant to the Bill?

The committee’s call for views is open until June 24.