I see the Scottish government are to press on with their misguided plans to impose a minimum price per unit of alcohol. Obviously much depends on where it is set, but anything over 30p per unit will substantially increase the cost of mainstream products in the off-trade. The plan has rightly been condemned as something that will penalise ordinary, responsible drinkers while doing nothing to curb problem drinking. It could even make matters worse, by taking trade out of the hands of legitimate retailers and handing it over to bootleggers. You can just picture the white vans lining up outside Carlisle ASDA.
And it is extremely disappointing to see CAMRA lending support to this plan. Do they really think that this Puritanical crusade against alcohol is going to leave pubs unscathed? And do they not appreciate the difference between imposing a minimum price and banning loss-leading? They are foolishly walking in to the banners’ divide and rule trap.
It still hasn’t been made clear exactly who will pocket the difference between the normal selling price and the government-dictated minimum. Anyway, let’s hope the plan falls foul of European competition law.
Edit: this is an interesting in-depth piece from The Scotsman about the plans.