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Doctor questions minimum pricing effect

A leading academic behind the drive to introduce minimum pricing in Scotland has admitted the measure might not be enough to stop young people binge drinking.

Dr John Holmes of the University of Sheffield, who helped put together the influential Sheffield Report on alcohol pricing, told Holyrood’s Health & Sport Committee that there is no way of knowing what effect the measure would have on the binge drinking culture.

The Health & Sport Committee is investigating controversial plans to introduce a minimum unit price on alcohol in Scotland.

Dr Holmes said: “If people are saying this is going to have a huge impact on young people binge-drinking, it’s not exactly clear if that will be the case.

“There will be some impact and we can see the model predicts there will be reductions in various types of crimes.

“Part of that is to do with some on-trade alcohol being sold at low prices. Part of it is to do with some alcohol-related crime following binge-drinking sessions which started with drinking at home.”

However, his colleague Professor Alan Brennan was more certain in his assessment, saying he would be very surprised if the introduction of minimum pricing brought about no positive effects on the nation’s health.

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