THE GOVERNMENT'S PURPOSE
17. Changing Scotland's relationship with alcohol is of central importance in realising the Scottish Government's core purpose - namely to focus Government and public services on creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish, through increasing economic sustainable growth.
18. The Government's Economic Strategy sets out how we will work collaboratively with the private, public and third sectors in pursuit of our Purpose. A set of high level Purpose Targets have been identified to ensure that growth is shared by all of Scotland, focusing on:
- improving our productivity and competitiveness;
- increasing our labour market participation; and
- stimulating population growth.
19. Underpinning the Government's Purpose and Economic Strategy are five Strategic Objectives - to make Scotland Wealthier and Fairer, Safer and Stronger, Healthier, Smarter and Greener. To fully achieve these objectives we need to tackle alcohol misuse.
20. The Strategic Objectives themselves are supported by 15 national outcomes which describe in more detail what the Scottish Government wants to achieve over the next ten years. Policies to tackle alcohol misuse will make a positive contribution to delivering over half of these.
21. In addition, in recognition of the need to build a healthier relationship with alcohol in pursuit of our objectives, we also have a specific national indicator related to excessive consumption, to reduce alcohol-related hospital admissions by 2011.
22. By tackling alcohol misuse we will break down a barrier which is seriously hindering our efforts to achieve our strategic outcomes, not only through creating a healthier Scotland, but also by unleashing the potential of our people in so many ways, whether that be through giving our children the best start in life, improving our people's life chances, regenerating our communities, or tackling crime and disorder.
23. At the same time, this needs to be seen in the context of an alcohol industry that contributes greatly to Scotland's Purpose. The whisky industry, in particular, plays an important part in bringing wealth to Scotland through exports, and through attracting visitors to Scotland. Scottish Ministers have and will continue to responsibly promote whisky and Scotland in their international activities. Whisky is a distinctive brand. It raises the profile of Scotland throughout the world. At home, the alcohol industry provides much needed employment, particularly in some of Scotland's more rural and isolated communities, often serving as the sole or main employer in a particular area. That is why it is especially important to strike the right balance in our approach - to change our relationship with alcohol, not to destroy it.