Labour are preparing to back minimum pricing in England confirming claims that Scottish Labour MSPs sacrificed public health for party politics by voting down the proposal in Scotland.
Commenting in the Times on plans by local authorities across Greater Manchester to introduce a 50p minimum price for alcohol Labour’s shadow public health minister Dianne Abbot MP backed the plan saying that if the Manchester plan works “we should consider rolling it out nationally.”
Last month Labour voted against trialling a minimum price for alcohol in Scotland.
SNP MSP and Health Committee member Michael Matheson said:
“The SNP is committed to action to tackle Scotland’s problematic relationship with alcohol and that includes introducing minimum pricing.
“Diane Abbott’s comments confirm that Labour’s opposition to minimum pricing in Scotland was completely unprincipled. Labour voted minimum pricing down solely because it was an SNP proposal.
“Voting against minimum pricing was one of Labour’s lowest moments as an opposition party and one that shows they are not fit to be in government.
“I sincerely hope Diane Abbott has a word with Jackie Baillie and Scottish Labour finally see the importance of putting public health before party politics and see sense on minimum pricing.
“Labour in London must be horrified that their Scottish colleagues would rather rely on the Tories who no one expects to set taxes and duties at leves that would discourage people from excessive or irresponsible consumption of alcohol than take action themselves.
“With Diane Abbott wiping out Labour’s opposition to minimum pricing her Scottish colleagues must confirm that they will back a trial of minimum pricing in Scotland so we can work to solve our own problems with alcohol instead of shirking responsibility.”