Not content with introducing minimum pricing for alcohol in Scotland and the impending legal battle with the Scottish Whisky Association the Scottish National Party are stepping up their fight with the demon drink in Scotland. The new battle ground is drink driving which although has been on the decline for many years the SNP would now like to lower the drink driving limit in Scotland. The UK limit is currently 80 milligrams per 100 millilitres of blood which is the highest in the world. The limit has been in place since 1966 however in 2012 Scotland was given the right to set its own level as part of the devolution process.
The Scottish government are proposing to bring the limit in line with the rest of Europe at 50 milligrams per 100 millilitres which they state ‘will save lives’. Although this consultation is aimed at drink driving, is the constant publicity with the SNP and alcohol damaging Scotland’s reputation internationally. The Scotch whisky industry contributed £125 every second to the UK treasury and the very public battle with the Scottish Whisky Association will not go un-noticed abroad where similar measures could seriously damage the Scottish whisky industries ability to complete. The actions of the Scottish Government have already caused problems with online whisky sales where online whisky retailers can sell some products cheaper than their Scottish competitors. Although online whisky sales are a small percentage of the total it is clear the Scottish government seem to have tunnel vision at present and must acknowledge the damage they could be doing to Scotland’s key export industry.