Scotland is Putting an End to Cheap Booze From Today

Scotland has today introduced a minimum price for alcohol- sparking warnings that Scots will flock south of the border on'booze cruises to save money

Time for a crackdown on cheap North East booze - before more lives are lost

"Minimum unit pricing will save lives, cut crime and benefit the public finances".

"It's no secret that Scotland has a troubled relationship with alcohol".

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.

Health Secretary Shona Robison added: "We know we need to act now to change people's attitudes towards alcohol and I am confident that, with the introduction of minimum unit pricing, we are moving in the right direction".

Having achieved a unanimous ruling in the Supreme Court, the Scottish government agreed in February this year that the minimum price on a unit of alcohol would be 50 pence. It will now cost at least 7.50 pounds.

Dr Goodall agrees the policy will not cure all of Scotland's alcohol-related ills. The Scottish Government confirmed in February this year it would set the baseline price for alcohol at 50p a unit.

"Labour has made the case for a Social Responsibility Levy to claw back the windfall supermarkets could make from minimum unit pricing".

Executive director Nick Leggett says doing the same thing here would only hurt the alcohol sector by putting off responsible drinkers. On average, alcohol misuse causes about 697 hospital admissions and 22 deaths a week and it costs Scotland £3.6 billion each year, or £900 for every adult, ministers say.

It's estimated a 5 year delay in introducing it in England would see the North East see 75 additional lives lost, 11,000 alcohol related crimes and 4,600 hospital admissions which otherwise could have been avoided, costing the region nearly £66m.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that heavy drinkers do buy cheaper alcohol, but they also respond less strongly to price increases.

"Serious consideration should also be given to introducing clear information about the health risks on product labels".

Following the implementation of the new law in Scotland, it is thought that some Scots may cross the border into England it pick up cheaper booze. As with booze cruises to France, some will be doing it legally for their own consumption and others will be doing it to sell illegally in Scotland.

Some campaigners are calling for similar legislation to be introduced in England - with fears that many lives could be lost as a result of alcohol, and that the NHS will be footing a bill worth millions.

"We now look forward to seeing a broad and far-reaching alcohol strategy from the Scottish Government soon".

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