Scottish retailers and wholesalers breathed a sigh of relief this week after plans to introduce a minimum price for booze by Christmas were delayed for at least a year.
The Scottish Government’s plans were scuppered by opposition parties, who insisted the Government create new legislation, rather than tacking laws on to existing legislation.
This effectively postponed the regulations coming into force until next year at the earliest.
“It did appear that these proposals were being pushed through far too quickly, without full and proper debate, and I think everyone will welcome the breathing space,” said Kate Salmon, executive director of the Scottish Wholesale Association.
“The delay will allow more time for retailers and wholesalers to get their acts together and get organised for when the new laws come in,” said Simon Hannah, a director at Scottish wholesaler JW Filshill. “We are still not sure of how the law will be implemented and this will give more time to flesh out the details.”
He added that minimum pricing would not necessarily be bad news for retailers and wholesalers, as it could allow them to make a greater profit margin on sales.
However, he said, some manufacturers of cheaper “value” brands could suffer if their prices were forced upwards, narrowing the gap with bigger, more expensive brands.