Alcohol advertising and promotion consultation

Today we have responded to the Scottish Government consultation on alcohol advertising and promotion, highlighting the need for more careful consideration of the impact of the proposal in islands communities:

Scottish Islands Federation (SIF) is a representative body for island communities and a key stakeholder of the Scottish Government’s Islands Team. We write with our deep concern over the detrimental impact and unintended consequences some of the proposals within this consultation could have in island communities.

SIF represents communities from across the Isles, many of which celebrate the success, enterprise, uniqueness, and local value of the growing number of distilleries and small-scale craft and artisan drinks producers.   Against the odds of geography and economies of scale, these businesses are flourishing across many islands, creating excellent local products, developing jobs, growing skills and opportunities.  The value reaches well beyond this too, to local shops, visitor centres, tourism, and the impressive range of entrepreneurs that produce brand-sharing products such as soaps, crafts, chocolates, tablet, mustards and many other types of food and confectionery.

While we strongly recognise the need to reduce alcohol-related harm in Scotland, we are concerned that the proposals and research has not been viewed through an island lens and could have a detrimental and disproportionate impact in island communities. This is of particular relevance given that the nature of most islands naturally limits options for commuting to access wider work markets on a daily basis. This, coupled with the fact that the drinks sector and small businesses working to create brand-sharing products and related experiences can play a key role in island economies, leads us to the view that the proposal could lead not only to loss of employment in islands but also subsequent depopulation as islanders move off-island for work. Therefore, in line with the Islands (Scotland) Act, an Island Community Impact Assessment should be carried out.

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