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Small Shops Support a Ban on Below Cost Selling of Alcohol as an Alternative to Minimum Pricing

The Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF) has reacted to the Stage 1 report on the Alcohol etc (Scotland) Bill by reiterating its call for a ban on selling alcohol below cost as an alternative to minimum pricing.

John Drummond Chief Executive of the SGF said;

“It is clear there is deep division within the Health and Sport Committee regarding a number of the measures in the Bill. We are frustrated that despite minimum pricing dominating discussions, which in our view has minimised debate on the other proposals within the Bill, members of the Committee still remain unconvinced that minimum pricing will change consumption behaviour and cultural attitude. We believe the same benefits of a low set minimum price can be achieved with a ban on below cost selling, which would be less intrusive.

“A ‘one size fits all policy’ to address the sale of alcohol by retailers will fail to work and will have a far greater harmful impact on small shops than on our supermarket competitors.

“Whilst we welcome the Committee’s recommendation that the Scottish Government must provide early clarification on practical implications for small retailers to the changes proposed on promotions and promotional material, something we have been asking for since November 2009, the Committee fails to recognize that one of the few means small shops can communicate value to their customers is via the use of promotions. Restrictions in these areas will reduce the opportunity to attract customers from larger competitors and perpetuate a commercial advantage for the biggest players.

“As the Bill proceeds through the Parliament SGF will continue to make the case for small shops to MSPs.”