The Scottish Government's plans to impose a minimum price on alcohol have been postponed while it settles legal action over the issue.
Drinks producers have challenged the proposed move, which was due to come into force in the spring of next year. Similar legal action taken by tobacco firms against a ban on promotional displays of cigarettes has now held up new laws by nearly two years already.
Commenting on today's announcement by the Scottish Health Secretary, Alex Neill, Kate Nicholls, strategic affairs director of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR), said: "We are obviously disappointed that this will delay meaningful action to tackle irresponsible supermarket promotions on both sides of the border until after the next General Election. But it is vital that any law when drafted is clear, robust and takes account of genuine operational and commercial impact - the very worst thing for operators is legal challenge after a new law takes effect.
"But what we cannot have is stasis. Both governments have finally woken up to the fact that it is the plethora of pocket money-priced alcohol promotions which are the real problem, they must not shirk from putting in place a wider framework of action to tackle unregulated supermarket sales and there is much they can do on hours, on siting, on cross-promotions and meaningful controls on multi-buys. "
By Neil Gerrard
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