Scotland is Putting an End to Cheap Booze From Today

By Tom Pritchard on at

Back in 2012 the Scottish government passed some legislation to implement a minimum price on alcohol, in order to tackle issues with overdrinking. Despite some of the legal challenges that legislation faced in the years since, today is the day that it goes into effect.

The idea behind the law is to try and save lives, with a minimum price set for alcohol based on how many units it contains. That effectively means the end of booze that can get you ridiculously drunk on the cheap, specifically the type that attracts problem drinkers like cheap cider, unbranded vodka, and whisky.

As an example of how things could change, ministers noted that a two litre bottle of cider containing 14 units of alcohol could be purchased for as little as £2.50. Under the new laws it will actually end up costing £7.50, and the stronger drinks will see their prices rise as much as £3 a bottle.

The key thing here is that the new rules only really affect supermarkets and shops, seeing as how pubs and clubs charge more in the first place. BBC News noted that any drinkeries would have to sell a pint of lager for as little as £1.14 (!) to be affected. It's also been made clear that the price increase isn't a tax, and the extra revenue goes to the shop and not the government.

It's hoped that this move will help tackle Scotlamnd's "unhealthy relationship" with booze, with hopes that the rules will prevent 58 deaths  and 1,300 hospital visits in its first year. If ministers decide it hasn't worked after six years there is a clause in the legislation that will end the minimum pricing. [BBC News]