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Buckfast producer sees rise in profits as politicians reject alcohol bill


THE company that makes the controversial Buckfast tonic wine saw its operating profits jump by more than one quarter in a year.

Profits at J Chandler and Company rose 28 per cent to £2.6m in the year to March 2015, despite a 5.2 per cent drop in sales to £36.3m, according to a Companies House filing.

The rise in profits emerged on the same day that a Scottish Parliament committee rejected a Bill that would have regulated high-caffeine alcoholic drinks, such as Buckfast.

The monk-operated firm, which makes its heady caffeine-laced concoction at the Benedictine Buckfast Abbey in Devon, said that an advantageous euro exchange rate and the company’s negotiation of lower prices for wine had boosted its profit margins.

The drink has for years been blamed for drunken and criminal behaviour in the western Central Belt, particularly in the so-called Buckie Triangle between Airdrie, Coatbridge and Bellshill. The drink was mentioned in around 6,500 Strathclyde Police crime reports between 2010 and 2012.

Yesterday MSPs on the Scottish Parliament’s health committee rejected a legislative proposal to clamp down on tonic wines with a high caffeine content.

The rejected Alcohol Bill was drafted by Labour MSP Richard Simpson, a former prison doctor. The member’s Bill would also have placed restrictions on the advertising of alcoholic drinks near schools as well as banning the advertising of drinks at sporting and cultural events mostly attended by under-18s.

Yesterday’s decision to reject the alcohol misuse legislation came as little surprise after Scottish Government ministers in November urged the SNP-dominated health committee to ensure the bill made no further progress.

Mr Simpson said: “I am extremely disappointed that there have been no new measures tackling Scotland’s difficult relationship with alcohol through the entire time of this Parliament and that the SNP Government continues supporting minimum unit pricing in Scotland.”

Source: The Herald Scotland

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