The Scottish Government is planning to tax supermarket and off-license sales of alcohol as part of a ‘polluter pays' approach to battling binge-drinking.
Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill said yesterday that with more alcohol being sold through the off-trade the problems of binge-drinking were not restricted to the on-trade in city centres.
As a result supermarkets should be treated with the same punitive measures as pubs and bars.
According to reports in the Scotsman](http://news.scotsman.com/scotland/SNP-threatens-to-tax-supermarkets.3766548.jp), local licensing boards in Scotland will be given free reign to spend the fees raised by the proposed alcohol tax on projects that encourage socially responsible drinking.
A recent survey by the Home Office showed that 52% of under-age drinkers obtained their alcohol directly from the off-trade with a further 22% getting it from older family and friends.
The on-trade throughout the UK has persistently fought suggestions that supermarket pricing policies are undermining their efforts to retail alcohol responsibly and promote sensible drinking.
Scottish licensees looking for price parity on alcohol sales with supermarkets, who often sell booze as a loss leader, currently face rising license costs as part of a wider overhaul of licensing north of the border.
Earlier this month Scottish Beer and Pub Association chief executive Patrick Browne warned that the rising cost of licenses could see smaller pubs in Scotland considering their future as viable businesses.
By Christopher Walton
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