Cross border alcohol pricing

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Scotland became the first country in the world to implement minimum unit pricing for alcohol and the Borders will have to wait and see what it will have on the area, said local MP John Lamont.

A new minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol came into force this week after legislation was finally given the go ahead by the courts.

The new measure will mean a bottle of vodka cannot be sold for less than £13.13 for a 70cl bottle and whisky would be £14. Large packs of beer and strong cider will also be affected.

The legislation includes a requirement for the Scottish Government to report back in five years time about the effect of the legislation on alcohol consumption and businesses.

Local MP John Lamont said it remains to be seen whether the measure will have the desired effect of curbing excessive drinking, adding that there may be further unintended consequences for the Borders.

Mr Lamont said: “This has been a controversial measure which has been tested in the courts for several years. Now we have to wait and see what effect the introduction of minimum pricing has on Scotland’s relationship with alcohol.

“In the Scottish Borders, there is the added uncertainty of how this will affect sales locally.

“While I think cross border booze-cruises are unlikely, it may have an impact on people’s habits. If a trip to Berwick, Wooler or Carlisle looks more appealing, then shops in the Borders are inevitably going to take a hit.

“That is why it is good for the Borders that this measure will be reviewed after five years. If minimum pricing proves to be ineffective then it can be scrapped.”