Sunderland academic shares views on minimum alcohol pricing

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The move is aimed to curb the sale of cheap and strong drinks in a society burdened by abuse of alcohol.

Scotland introduced the legislation in an attempt to combat the country's alcoholism.

"The premium whiskies that the industry in Scotland is so renowned for are not the alcohol products that are going to be most affected by minimum pricing", she told the AFP news agency.

Scotland has introduced minimum unit pricing for alcohol as part of the government's efforts to "change people's attitudes towards alcohol". First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the move would "save lives". It also means a three-litre bottle of high strength white cider containing the equivalent of 22 shots of vodka will cost over £11 in Scotland as opposed to as little as £3.50 in England.

Health campaigners argue when the price of alcohol goes down, consumption of alcohol goes up.

The policy is a world first, and is meant to address the harms to health caused by the sale and consumption of cheap, strong alcohol and reduce alcohol-related crime.

Retailers must now ensure a unit of alcohol is not priced below 50p, in a government bid to reduce the high number of alcohol-related deaths in the country each year.

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"Labour has made the case for a Social Responsibility Levy to claw back the windfall supermarkets could make from minimum unit pricing". The body says it is a regressive policy that hits responsible drinkers, in particular those with the lowest incomes.

She added: "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". Deaths through alcohol misuse in Scotland are 54 per cent higher than England and Wales and six times higher in the country's most deprived areas.

At midnight tonight, new pricing rules to discourage problem drinking will increase the prices of alcohol in Scotland. There are also serious questions about the potential impact on cross border trade and illicit alcohol.

One comes into effect in Scotland today, set at 50 pence per unit. This is their folly and they will have to live with the consequences.

The Irish Government is planning to introduce similar measures here.

"We hope that the Westminster Government will now look to the success of such policies and not leave people in England at a greater risk of harm from irresponsibly cheap, super-strength alcohol".

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