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by Anna Fenton, Assistant Head of News
Scottish ministers have recently unveiled plans to set minimum pricing for alcohol in Scotland in this latest attempt to combat drinking problems. Campaign groups have pushed the government to spread these measures throughout the UK, but the drinks industry have argued that is would have little effect on British drinking culture, and would only punish the ordinary consumer. Under this scheme, alcohol will not be sold beneath a minimum price per unit, a price that has yet to be set, although some early estimates suggest that this will be around 40p. Promotions, such as three-for-two offers, are to be banned, while the display and marketing of drink is to be restricted to specific areas in shops.
These latest measures are another weak attempt by the government to tackle the problems caused by such an entrenched drinking culture, but rather than addressing these issues on a social level, measures such as these will simply punish all drinkers.
Price will never matter to the addict, the price increase will only serve to detract funds from other areas. Clearly these proposed measures are aimed at heavy drinkers rather than alcoholics, but while there can be a fine line between the two, one must consider the wider effects this will have for those who are dependent on drink, who will have to beg, steal, and suffer just to get a drink.
This latest exasperating example of the governmentâ€™s inadequate measures further illuminates the distance between those policy makers at the top, and the harsh realities of alcohol related problems in society. The Chateauneuf du pape drinkers will not be harshly affected by these proposals.
If the rise in alcohol prices should directly feed back into the problems caused by alcoholism, for example treatment centres, actually helping tackle the problems of alcohol abuse, then perhaps this price increase is not such a bad thing. However, this seems highly unlikely, and will only serve to punish those who can least afford it.