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Scottish Government alcohol marketing clampdown to be ‘narrower’ after opposition Published Date: 03/12/2023

We previously reported on the Scottish Government's consultation on restrictions to alcohol advertising and promotion in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has now published its analysis of responses to the consultation acknowledging the ‘high levels of opposition’ to its initial proposals for new restrictions on alcohol marketing, and pledged to go back to the drawing board to find a ‘narrower’ set of measures that might attract wider support. 

Elena Whitham MSP, Minister for Drugs and Alcohol Policy, said:

"I am pleased that today the Scottish Government is publishing the analysis of our restricting alcohol advertising and promotions consultation - that ran from November 2022 to March 2023, as well as summary notes of each of the roundtable engagements that were held between January and March this year. Both the consultation and roundtables have provided valuable insights and feedback from stakeholders with a broad range of interests on restricting alcohol marketing.

"I would like to express my gratitude to all the individuals and organisations who took the time to contribute their thoughts and opinions. Their input has played a significant role in shaping understanding of the challenges and opportunities the Scottish Government faces in its commitment to reduce the alcohol-related harm that Scotland faces.

"Whilst there was a divergence of views on many of the broad range of potential interventions, it is clear there are areas of wide agreement including the importance of tackling alcohol-related harm in Scotland and reducing children and young people’s exposure to alcohol advertising and promotions.

"The World Health Organization’s three ‘best buys’ recommend restricting alcohol marketing as one of the most cost-effective measures to prevent and reduce alcohol-related harm. I remain committed to progressing work on restricting alcohol marketing, noting the challenges and range of views put forward as part of this consultation. I will be considering this feedback carefully as next steps are shaped.

"It is clear that further engagement is needed, to ensure that future proposals have adequately taken account of the range of views on this matter. To that end, in early 2024 the Scottish Government will undertake targeted stakeholder engagement on alcohol marketing, to better understand the concerns raised by business stakeholders on this matter. I am committed to working with stakeholders on the impact and the implementation of proposals, and this collaborative approach will enable us to refine and enhance our proposals, ensuring that they're well informed, deliverable and achieve our aim of reducing alcohol harms.

"The Scottish Government will then seek to undertake a further public consultation in 2024 on a narrower range of proposals, following the planned engagement with stakeholders in early 2024."