Alcohol needed to make hand sanitiser has soared in price, MSPs told

Scotland’s largest manufacturer of hand sanitiser has said the price of the alcohol it needs to make the product has increased seven-fold since the start of the Covid-19 crisis.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop condemned the “absolutely inexcusable” behaviour after Kenneth Gibson, the MSP for Cunninghame North, raised the issue at Holyrood.

His constituency includes the TR Bonnyman Son and Company in Beith.

Mr Gibson told MSPs: “A crisis brings out the best in some people and the worst in others.

“In my constituency, Scotland’s largest producer of alcohol sanitising gel, TR Bonnyman Son, has seen the price of alcohol supplied to it rocket from £500 to £3,500 a tonne.”

He asked Ms Hyslop what steps are being taken to “tackle individuals and companies allegedly profiteering from the impact of Covid-19”.

Ms Hyslop said: “There are people who want to exploit people and companies in very, very difficult circumstances.”

She praised companies such as distilleries, which have started making hand sanitiser instead of their regular products, describing that as being a “good example of businesses responding positively” to the coronavirus crisis.

But she added: “Exploitation of the economy at this very difficult time is absolutely inexcusable.”

Ms Hyslop said if details are sent to her she will “see what regulations we have, or indeed what powers the UK has, to try to restrict such unacceptable behaviour during an economic emergency”.