From disbelief to fury: the new SNP legislation

The Scottish Government is highly concerned with the levels of alcohol consumption in our country. A recent survey shows that we are eighth in the world league of alcohol intake per capita (we would be delighted if that was our FIFA ranking position). I think we all agree, as a nation we are drunks.

The Scottish National Party decided that enough is enough. They came up with a battery of laws they think will address the problem suitably. A noble cause but approached the SNP way. Hmmm…

Run a pub but don’t drink

They want to raise the minimum drinking age from 18 to 21, which means that when you are 18-20 you have to pay taxes, you can marry and buy a house, you can be jailed for life if you murder someone, you can vote, you can own a business (a pub, an off-licence), you can travel around the world on your own… but you can’t buy a dram in a pub.

Don’t compete, it’s bad for you

Second thing is the drinks promotions. Half of our society slowly eats themselves to death. Will the Government ban ’2 for 1′ promotions on frozen pizzas? No. But yes, they will ban any form of promotion on drinks. Drink retailers and pub landlords are not supposed to compete and make profit, they are there to educate us.

Sell cheap things dear and dear things cheap, it makes sense

This last thing seems to have infuriated pretty much everyone. Minimum prices on drinks is a bad idea. Not only because centrally regulated economies fail and collapse with the consistency and inevitability of the Earth spin, but also because it’s illegal from the EU and international trade law point of view.

What about whisky?

The Government does not make any distinction between 80p-a-can own brand lager and fine single malt whisky. All the new regulations, if implemented, will apply to the whisky industry. We think this is fair and smart. The chavs from downstairs would surely switch to Ardbeg, should their favourite £2.99 Pinot Grease all of a sudden jump to £3.99.

Whisky exports are worth nearly £3bn a year now. Go through with the illegal legislation and other countries will have the perfect excuse to introduce discriminatory restrictions against Scotch whisky. The powers that be, where will you take the money from to buy another bank when that happens? Think!


They said

Diageo GB Managing Director, Benet Slay: “We all have a common goal in wanting to combat alcohol related issues in Scotland. However, we are extremely disappointed to see that Government has failed to listen to industry’s concerns.

“It is still progressing with sensationalist policies rather than following evidence based ones that will target the minority of Scots that drink irresponsibly. That is short-term politics making a poor attempt at tackling a serious long-term problem.” – Source

The Scotch Whisky Association Chief Executive, Gavin Hewitt: “We agree that attitudes to alcohol in Scotland need to change, but minimum pricing is not the answer.
“It is hard to believe any Scottish Government would bring forward proposals that are likely to be both illegal in international trade law and risk damaging the whisky industry.” – Source

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  1. It is inbeleivable that the SNP would take steps to damage one of its main industries. Surely our government should show at least the tiniest bit of self interest when it comes to a major employer and contributer to the Scottish Economy.

    But how can it be fixed? The Scots, as a nation, do have an appalling attitude towards drinking, eating and general health.Maybe they should start putting huge taxes on Mcdonalds and Chippies.

    Surely, when these price increases are thought of, single malts should be protected. They are expensive enough as it is.

    I would also argue that the government has tried this before:

    Budget 2008
    ‘The centrepiece of a deliberately low-key budget was an increase in excise duties that will put 4p on a pint of beer, 14p on a bottle of wine and 55p on a bottle of spirits when they are introduced at midnight on Sunday’

    I think the main thing with alcohol is to spend more on Education. The same with healthy eating.

    I would also suggest that if you do not tackle the cultural issues around drink, then it will still be a problem, no matter the price.

    It is a noble cause to try and tackle a problem that costs the economy and damages our health, but there must be a better way to do so.

  2. The UK Government listened when there was such outcry from Scottish Whisky producers – but if we ‘enthusiasts’ speak out we’re decried as alcoholics, or drink-happy students.
    We already have taxes to make drinking ridiculously expensive compared to other EU countries, and that has of course worked out so very very well, as evidenced by these figures!

  3. They should also impose minimum price levels per unit of intoxication on other recreational drugs: what will be minimum price be for a line of Brazilian Marching Powder or a spliff, then, Comrades? Or is it OK to have competition there?

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