The bill setting a minimum price for alcohol is accepted by all parties as a necessary step in the campaign against alcohol-related ill health in Scotland.

A major objection to it was that it gave an unnecessary boost to the profits of the supermarkets.

I propose a way to deal with that objection, benefit the voluntary sector and help the financing of local shops.

Loading article content

The large supermarket chains should be encouraged to donate the extra revenue to a charity fund which they would distribute to charities of their choice. Locally owned shops or supermarkets would effectively be given a hidden subsidy relative to the major chains, helping ease the draining effect of these chains on local businesses.

The major chains would be required to publish the amount of extra money each store collected from the minimum pricing regulation and the amount they gave to good causes. Any supermarket refusing to set up a charity fund would have to explain their refusal to their shoppers. It would encourage a giving competition between supermarkets. If they attempted to minimise the charity fund by increasing profit margins on alcohol it would be simple to point out the price differences between the competing chains.

This would be a further reason why the European Parliament should withdraw opposition to minimum pricing.

John F Cowie,

2 St Colme Road, Dalgety Bay, Fife.