Alcohol Minimum Pricing Policy Set to Hit Moray

07 April 2009

A vital part of the Moray economy is under threat and Moray is being let down by the SNP Government's policy on raising the price for alcohol, says North Labour MSP Peter Peacock and Labour Euro MEP, Catherine Stihler.

Their claim comes following a visit to Forres distillery Benromach and an extensive briefing from local whisky company Gordon & MacPhail and the Scotch Whisky Association.

Peter Peacock said,

"The whisky industry, which is so vital to the Moray economy, will face real challenges and a potential significant downturn in business if the SNP government press ahead with their policy to raise alcohol prices.

"Both Catherine Stihler and I have already been asking questions in our respective Parliament's about the legality of what the SNP government propose and the briefing we have had confirms the belief of the industry that what is proposed breaches EU and international law.

"What is just as bad, however, is the effect of such a policy being adopted in Scotland on the attitude of many countries which already have trade restrictions on the importing of whisky.

"The industry believe that such countries may themselves then increase the barriers to whisky being exported to their countries and say we have nothing to complain about as our own Scottish government is doing the exact same thing by imposing minimum pricing."

Catherine Stihler MEP said,

"Whisky is a major Scottish industry with a worldwide reputation for excellence.

"Adopting this policy without thinking through the consequences could be very damaging indeed to the whole industry and to trading potential.

"The effect on Moray could be very significant as Moray houses such a large number of distilleries.

"It is surprising that it is the SNP which is pushing this policy as they traditionally liked to claim to stand up for the industry, but now they are alienating and threatening it.

"I will continue to ask questions in the European Parliament about the legality of this, but the policy goes wider than just the legality, it could be very damaging to exports by providing countries which want to find excuses to make importing whisky more difficult with the very excuses they need to increase trade barriers."

Peter Peacock added, "I know that many people in Moray feel let down and disappointed by the SNP government on this.

"They used to like to be seen as the champions of the industry when in opposition, criticising any upward revision of taxes.

"Now they are in government they seem to have changed their tune and are proposing alcohol price rises which will directly harm the industry and Moray.

"Like Catherine Stihler I will continue to raise this issue in Parliament and stick up for Moray and Moray's most famous industry."


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