The Scottish Grocers’ Federation has welcomed assurances from the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Nicola Sturgeon, that there will be no increase in licensing fees to fund the enforcement of minimum unit pricing.
SGF wrote to the Cabinet Secretary after the Financial Statement accompanying the Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) Scotland Bill stated that there could be a review of fee income if the Bill increased the workload of LSOs. A number of local authorities also raised their concerns with the Finance Committee about how they would meet any additional costs arising from the Bill.
Commenting on the letter from the Cabinet Secretary SGF Chief Executive, John Drummond, said:
“This is a welcome response from Nicola Sturgeon. The 2005 Licensing Act has cost the convenience sector an additional £22m over the last three years with a recently completed review of licensing showing that around 41% of local authorities were profiteering from licensing fees despite a statutory obligation not to do this.
“A further increase resulting from the minimum pricing legislation would be intolerable, especially given our opposition to the proposed Bill. We welcome the cabinet Secretary’s assurance that the Scottish Government has no plans to raise licence fees.”