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Scottish alcohol plan backed by bishops: CEN 11.13.09 p 7. November 20, 2009

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Health/HIV-AIDS, Scottish Episcopal Church.

The bishops of the Scottish Episcopal Church have backed the Scottish Government’s proposed bill to regulate the sale and consumption of alcohol. “If our nation and each of us within it is to have a healthy future then the nettle that is alcohol misuse must be grasped,” the Bishop of Aberdeen & Orkney, Dr. Robert Gillies said on behalf of the college of bishops in a Nov 5 statement.

The proposed Alcohol Bill includes provisions to establish a minimum pricing policy to reduce alcohol consumption by raising prices. It would ban “irresponsible promotions” and restrict marketing in supermarkets, promote the sale of smaller bottles of wine and spirits, introduce a “social responsibility fee” and raise the drinking age to 21 in some areas.

Bishop Gillies said that while some “bits of the Bill are going to be controversial,” there was a need to tackle alcohol abuse in Scotland.

There was a growing “gap” in society between those “enjoying a drink as a normal and respectable social activity and those who misuse it,” he said. “Sadly a laissez-faire, free-for-all attitude that lacks responsibility for oneself and for others seems to rule the day.

“Far too many people view each approaching weekend as an occasion to descend to a state where they are out of control and out of mind, making our city and town centres unpleasant, threatening and unwelcome places,” the bishop said.

The government’s Healthier Scotland campaign reports that alcohol consumption in the UK has more than doubled since 1950, and that the misuse of alcohol costs the Scottish economy around £2.25 billion each year

Scotland needs a “real, lasting, social and cultural change” in its attitude towards alcohol, he said. Alcohol abuse, anti-social behavior, social and cultural degradation, “none of this helps make Scotland an attractive place,” Dr. Gillies said

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