London, May 1: The price of cheap, high-strength alcohol increased in Scotland as long-awaited legislation on minimum pricing came into force on Tuesday. A contested 2012 law that set a floor price for drinks based on their alcohol content officially entered into force, meaning consumers would now have to pay a minimum of 50 pence ($0.68) per unit of alcohol, the BBC reported.
“This will save lives and reduce crime,” Alison Douglas, CEO of the alcoholism prevention group Alcohol Focus Scotland, said. “Half of the crimes committed in Scotland are related to alcohol consumption.”
Cheap drinks such as low-cost fortified wine, multi-pack beers, own-brand whiskey, gin, vodka as well as high-strength white cider will see the biggest rise in prices. Ministers said the idea was to target booze that attracted problem drinkers. Earlier, a two-litre bottle of strong cider (7.5 alcohol by volume), which contained more than the weekly recommended limit for alcohol (14 units), could be bought for as little as 2.50 pounds. It will now cost at least 7.50 pounds. Own brand vodka, gin and whiskey will also rise in price by as much as 3 pounds a bottle, as will some cheap wines and multi-pack beers. According to a research, the move is expected to save 392 lives in the first five years of implementation. Scotland’s Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I am extremely proud that the eyes of the world will once again be on Scotland with the introduction of this legislation. Our action is bold and it is brave, and shows once again that we are leading the way in introducing innovative solutions to public health challenges. (IANS)