Labour proposes Buckfast ban as alternative to minimum pricing

Labour has unveiled plans to ban Buckfast as it sets out its alternative to the Scottish Government's minimum alcohol pricing policy.

The party has launched a package of measures which includes a fresh attempt to limit the amount of caffeine allowed in alcoholic drinks - a move which would outlaw Buckfast tonic wine in its current form.

Other proposals include a "bottle tagging" scheme, whereby retailers are required mark products with an invisible code so that products can be traced back to the point of sale.

The launch comes one day before MSPs will vote on the first of three stages needed to pass the Scottish Government's Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) Bill.

With the Scottish Tories reversing their opposition to the SNP's alcohol pricing policy, Labour is now alone in not supporting the government's scheme.

Labour MSP Dr Richard Simpson, a former GP, said the combination of caffeine and alcohol was a "toxic mix" which made violence more likely.

Dr Simpson launched the 14-point package with Graeme Pearson, a former director general of the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency, on Tuesday.

Dr Simpson said: "This is a complex problem that requires complex solutions.

"That is why Scottish Labour are launching not just one idea, but a comprehensive package of measures that we believe will help crack the culture of alcohol in Scotland."

Mr Pearson added: "People who supply alcohol to young people need to realise that what they are doing is not only breaking the law, but all too often is fuelling anti-social behaviour that makes other people's lives a misery."

On Wednesday MSPs will vote on the first of three stages needed to pass the Scottish Government's Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) Bill.

An earlier proposal by Labour to cap caffeine content at 150mg per litre was defeated at Holyrood in November 2010.

The Scottish Government said it was "always willing to look at ideas which will help change Scotland's relationship with alcohol".

A spokesman said: "We are quite clear there is no single solution to tackling these problems.

"Minimum pricing is not a silver bullet and we have never claimed otherwise, but it will be an important part of a comprehensive alcohol misuse strategy - indeed, our alcohol framework lists 41 separate actions. Action on education, diversionary activities and support for local groups are all important."

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