Scotland bans bargain-basement booze in public health move

  • May. 1, 2018 8:35 a.m.

LONDON — Bargain booze has become a little more expensive in Scotland, which says it is the first country in the world to introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol.

From Tuesday, retailers must charge at least 50 pence (68 cents) per unit, amounting to about 70 pence for a bottle of beer or 5 pounds for a bottle of wine.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon praised Scotland for being “bold enough and brave enough” to take the step.

“All of the evidence says that minimum unit pricing will reduce deaths from alcohol-related illnesses, reduce hospital admissions and generally reduce the damage that alcohol misuse does to our society,” she said.

A measure public health advocates call a watershed moment has been a long time coming.

Scottish lawmakers approved minimum pricing in 2012, but it was delayed for six years by legal challenges from the Scotch Whisky Association, which argued the move unfairly hit responsible drinkers on low incomes

Britain’s Supreme Court finally rejected the distillers’ challenge last year.

Health campaigners say minimum pricing will save lives and money. Almost a fifth more alcohol is sold per adult in Scotland than in other parts of Britain, and Scottish authorities say alcohol misuse causes about 697 hospital admissions and 22 deaths a week.

Scotland sets its own health policies, and campaigners are pressing for similar action in other parts of the U.K. The Alcohol Health Alliance, a coalition of medical groups, says there are almost 23,000 alcohol-related deaths a year in England, which has roughly 10 times Scotland’s population of 5 million.

Norine Aslam, who runs the Top Cellar liquor store in the Edinburgh suburb of Leith, said she was “all for” the move.

“It’s like everything, change is difficult,” she said. “But I think it’s a positive change so it’s just a hurdle that everyone needs to get over.

“I think it’s more positive than negative, so I think it will be good.

Just Posted

WATCH: Ellis Bird Farm open for summer

There is something magical about the Ellis Bird Farm located outside of… Continue reading

Developer pushes back construction of Nova Scotia rocket launch site

HALIFAX — The start date for the construction of Canada’s only commercial… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Craig Schmitt placed first once again at Woody’s Marathon

When Craig Schmitt runs in the annual Woody’s RV Marathon in Red… Continue reading

Life and death: Mistake sent one family to funeral home, the other to hospital

Doctors told Jody Littlewolf that her daughter was brain dead and should… Continue reading

Red Deer Silhouettes prepare for year-end show

Synchronized swimming team will perform its last show this season May 30

Learn to shoot safely at Ladies’ Range Day in Central Alberta

Walking up to a firearms’ store and looking at the variety of… Continue reading

School victims honoured at Billboard Awards; Janet, BTS shine

The 2018 Billboard Music Awards paid tribute to the students and teachers… Continue reading

Stars urge Indonesia to ban ‘brutal’ trade in dog meat

JAKARTA, Indonesia — International stars of acting, music and sports have urged… Continue reading

Taylor Swift is doing more to stop scalpers than Ontario’s new ticket act: experts

TORONTO — Step aside Ontario lawmakers, because Taylor Swift is giving you… Continue reading

In London, some Brits shrug off royal wedding: ‘Irrelevant’

LONDON — Watching the cheering, flag-waving Brits lining the sun-soaked royal procession… Continue reading

Grenfell Tower survivors weep as inquiry begins in London

LONDON — Survivors of a devastating high-rise fire in London wept Monday… Continue reading

Developer pushes back construction of Nova Scotia rocket launch site

HALIFAX — The start date for the construction of Canada’s only commercial… Continue reading

Ontario Liberals target ‘fiscal mistakes’ made by NDP as campaign heats up

TORONTO — Ontario’s Liberal leader is highlighting the differences between her party… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month