The Scottish Government has ruled out changing licensing laws to allow people to buy alcohol earlier in the day during the coronavirus outbreak.

Mike Russell, constitution secretary, said there are “some very difficult technical and legal issues” with such a move and, “given Scotland’s relationship with alcohol”, licensing hours will not be extended.

He had told MSPs last month that a possible relaxation of the restrictions – which mean shops in Scotland cannot sell alcohol before 10am – was being discussed at ministerial level.

Tory MSP Murdo Fraser, the convener of Holyrood’s Covid-19 Committee, said the current arrangements could “disadvantage” those who do their shopping earlier in the morning, particularly those taking advantage of dedicated hours for elderly people and other vulnerable groups, plus frontline workers.