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Video: Jeremy Beadles on minimum pricing

Published:  23 May, 2011

Minimum pricing in Scotland could encourage illegal cross-border alcohol trading, cause serious difficulties for suppliers and internet retailers, and is likely to quickly increase above the suggested 45p per unit.

That's the view of WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles, responding to the news that the SNP plan to have minimum pricing written into legislation by April.

"Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon have been very clear they are going to do it. We have to accept that, although we don't belive it will solve the problems they want it to solve," said Beadles.

Beadles also pointed out that "in all likelihood [minimum pricing] is illegal", and will be open to legal challenge.

He warned it would take some time for the supply chain to sort out how it would work in practice, adding that April seems a "very short time away".

Beadles also expressed fears that there is no guarantee that 45p per unit will be the minimum price chosen ? it could be higher.

"Potentially it could go up ? 45p per unit will hardly impact wine anyway."

Beadles added he would not be surprised if the minimum price started at 50p. "In the consultation they looked at the effects of a 40p, 50p and 70p unit price." he added.

"Within days of it being implemented it is likely the health lobbby would say it is not high enough," he said.

He also raised concerns that a minimum price north of the border would be a "serious incentive for organised gangs to bring white vans into estates in Scotland".

Beadles also said that the Scottish government was examining ways to recoup extra revenue generated from retailers ? perhaps through the social responsibility levy.