Today, Scotland becomes the first country in the world with a minimum alcohol price.
© Unsplash Images, Stephan King
The UK Supreme Court has said raising the price of cheap, high-strength booze will help to tackle Scotland’s “unhealthy relationship with drink”.
Ministers recommended setting the bar at a 50p-per-unit minimum.
Nicola Sturgeon is pleased with the outcome, but the same cannot be said for a majority of the Scottish people.
Individual liberty eroded again in Scotland. A government that won’t trust its people is not worthy of their trust.
— DJB (@djb_GB) November 15, 2017
What does this mean for England?
In 2012, then Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to introduce minimum pricing across England. His plans were unsurprisingly met by fierce opposition from the drinks industry, leaving them under review.
The Scottish administration’s legal process was supported by UK government. Home Office has said that policies are likely to be reignited in England when they are implemented in Scotland.
It is said that currently, super-strength cider and own-brand vodka and whiskey can be purchased for as little as 18p per unit of alcohol. A minimum of 50p per unit will see cheap brands, such as K Cider (currently at 20p-per-unit), face a price hike.
However, many well-known alcohol brands will not see an increase in price, as the per-unit pricing is already well above the minimum threshold.
The aim of this ruling in Scotland is to reduce the amount that problem drinkers consume, by making the price less appealing to its buyers.
The move is not a tax or duty increase. It is said all extra cash will go to the retailer.
In Scotland, there are potential concerns: “Just have to steal more stuff to pay for the booze. Up go the crime rates.”
“I have little money just now, but once or twice a week I like a beer or cider. How dare the government decide that I should pay more, because some people have no self control.”
“People will cut back on food and heating and rent payments before they’ll cut back on drink. I worry that the people this is supposed to benefit, and their families, will end up suffering more hardship.”
However, some people see the result in positive light: “It’s a step in the right direction. We are always hearing that alcohol should be treated just like any other drug. Only problem I see is that the Scottish economy is reliant on it”.
“Kids have stopped going to clubs in favour of sitting at home with cheap own brand booze from the supermarkets. Hope it revitalises some high streets”.
Words: Olivia Herring | Subbed: Katherine Doherty