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50p on a unit of Alcohol - Scotland sets a precedent for stupidity

Tom Winnifrith
Thursday 16 November 2017

Finally it looks as if the SNP is going to get its way and from next year if you buy booze from a shop in Scotland you will have to pay a minimum of 50p per unit of alcohol. Scotland sets a world precedent in stupidity.

Of course the middle class will be unaffected. The price of the sort of wine I drink and the type of whiskey I enjoy at this time of year is well above 50p per unit. So we middle class drunks will not notice the change at all if we happen to be visiting the Greece of the North.

But the price of a 3 litre bottle of cider will zoom from £4.50 to £11.25. The price of 20 cans of cheap lager will race ahead from £13 to £18. It will be the poor and working class who are hit by this tax, as of course, they are by smoking taxes.

The middle class liberal evangelists say that pushing up the price of fags has cut smoking. Nope, what has slashed smoking is vaping. It was the private sector that did for smoking not the state with its clumsy and regressive fiscal bullying. The same will happen with poor Scottish drinkers as has happened with smoking. Some will pay up. This will be a hugely regressive tax. A few will quit.

Others will, and if the elite were really to study history they would know this, simply get involved in crime. It takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to drive a mini van from the East End of Glasgow to Carlisle in England. If you stack your van up with 200 bottles of 3 litre cider at £4.50 you can sell it to your neighbours at £6 and they will love you and you will make an easy £300.

No doubt more Police time will be wasted chasing amateur Al Capone's but enough will get through. Shops in Glasgow and certainly booze outlets in the borders will go bust and Carlisle and Berwick will enjoy a bonanza.

Surely if the "war on drugs" has taught Scotland anything it is that prohibition ( and such steep price increases are a form of prohibition) just does not work.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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