The UK’s leading drinks companies have warned that Scottish plans to introduce a minimum price will demonise alcohol and could turn drinking into a social taboo. The Portman Group, the industry watchdog, has said that attempting to tackle problems by raising alcohol prices or restricting availability would be untargeted, unfair and likely to be ineffective. David Poley, chief executive of the Portman Group, said:?“Problems of alcohol misuse in Scotland will not be solved by turning alcohol into a social taboo and demonizing drink. “There is a considerable risk that this would actually increase the appeal of alcohol to young people in particular. “Setting a minimum price for alcohol would penalise hard-working Scots. People who claim that low prices are to blame for misuse among children miss the point; it is illegal for under-18s to buy alcohol. “A sustained programme of enforcement activity will tackle this problem. It makes far more sense to enforce the current law robustly than to raise the legal purchase age.” Diageo, the world’s biggest drinks producer, also recently criticized the Scottish government’s plans for new alcohol legislation, calling instead for a self-regulated system. Scottish government proposals include a “social responsibility fee” for licensed premises, bans on drinks promotions, minimum pricing and a minimum age of 21 for buying alcohol in shops.