Skip to main content

Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-11065: Michelle Ballantyne (South Scotland)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 5 September 2017

To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-02507 by Aileen Campbell on 23 September 2016, whether it will provide an update on the action that it is taking to tackle underage binge drinking, and what analysis it has carried out of the effectiveness of the initiatives that it has introduced.

Answered by: Aileen Campbell 21 September 2017

The Scottish Government has taken forward a range of actions through Changing Scotland's Relationship with Alcohol: A Framework for Action. This includes improved substance misuse education in schools through Curriculum for Excellence and improved identification of, and support for, children affected by parental substance misuse. Good practice guidance has been developed for practitioners and commissioners based on the literature review ‘What works in drug education and prevention’ (Scottish Government, 2016).

The Scottish Government provides support for diversionary activities for young people and guidance for parents and carers about young people and alcohol. Since 2008 we have committed £92 million to CashBack and other community initiatives, funding community activities and facilities largely, but not exclusively, for young people. The independent evaluation report published on 10 June 2014 showed how CashBack is changing individual young people’s lives for the better and that significant impact is being made on participation, diversion, and progression pathways; and engagement outcomes for young people and communities across Scotland. This positive impact was further evidenced within the Research Scotland evaluation of the first year of Phase 3 (2014-15) published in February 2016. Our full phase 3 (2014-15 – 2016-17) is due to be published in October. The impact of the programme is highlighted on our website and the Scottish Government site http://sh45inta/Topics/Justice/policies/community-engagement/cashback/Evaluation.

In addition the Alcohol etc. (Scotland) Act 2010 imposed a mandatory condition onto licences to have an age verification policy (Challenge 25) to make it harder for under-age drinkers to gain access to alcohol and the Air Weapons and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2015 has made it an offence from 15 May 2017 to give or make available alcohol to children or young people for consumption in a public place, helping the Police to address the scourge of drinking dens.

The most recent Scottish Schools Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) was published in October 2016 and analyses drinking behaviour in
13 and 15 year olds. It shows that the proportion of pupils who have ever had an alcoholic drink is at its lowest figure for both age groups since the survey began in 1990 (28% of 13 year olds and 66% of 15 year olds). The survey shows that the proportion of 15 year olds who made successful direct purchases (i.e. from shops, supermarkets, off-licences, pubs, clubs and nightclubs) decreased considerably between 2006 and 2013.