Sunday, 14 March 2010




Following this week’s news that a drinks company has had to apologise for
using the wrong information on the Scottish Government’s minimum pricing
proposals, the Labour party convener of Inverclyde Council’s Health and
Social Care committee has come out in support of the Scottish Government’s
plans for minimum pricing.

In a letter to West of Scotland SNP MSP Stuart McMillan the committee
convener, Councillor Joe McIlwee, wrote:

“I welcome the Scottish Government’s Alcohol Bill and support minimum
pricing as one of a raft measures which will lessen the harmful effect of
alcohol misue on our community.”

Official figures already show that Inverclyde has one of the highest rates
of liver disease in the west of Scotland with 190 cases of alcoholic liver
disease across the area in 2008-2009, according to official NHS

The figures also show that more than 1,000 patients were discharged from
hospital in the last two years with alcohol-related problems.

Commenting on the support of Councillor Joe McIlwee, Stuart McMillan said:

“This new support for minimum pricing is welcome and adds more support to
a growing list of people and organisations voicing their support for
minimum pricing.

“This issue is above party politics and I congratulate Councillor McIlwee
for standing out against the usual constraints of party pressure.

“Coming in the week that a drinks company has had to withdraw its claims
about minimum pricing this shows the argument is being won by those who
believe the option of minimum pricing must be part of a raft of measures
to tackle alcohol misuse.

“Minimum pricing is drawing support from a host of individuals, companies
and organisations, all wanting to change Scotland’s relationship with
alcohol through a sensible and proven means.

“The 3,000 deaths and 42,000 hospital stays linked to alcohol annually
cause misery across Scotland and cost ever taxpayer £900 a year – this is
a real burden on our public services and underlines the need for change.

“Minimum pricing is a workable approach to tackling the problem and has
drawn cross-party support in Westminster. Now, the opposition parties in
the Scottish Parliament must stop playing politics with the nation’s
health and back these proposals.”

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