Scotland becomes first country to impose minimum price on alcohol

Scotland becomes first country to impose minimum price on alcohol

Scotland has today introduced a minimum price for alcohol – sparking warnings that Scots will flock south of the border on ‘booze cruises’ to save money.

Supermarkets just over the border in Berwick-upon-Tweed have stocked up on extra alcohol in anticipation of a surge in demand.

The price of spirits, beer and cider have been hiked to 50p per unit in a bid to tackle the health crisis afflicting the country.

Scotland is the first country in the world to adopt the drastic measure, which will push up the price of the cheapest 2 litre bottle of cider from £1.99 to £5.

But the cost of Buckfast, a fruity fortified wine which became synonymous with loutish behaviour in Scotland, will stay the same at £5.63, as this is already more expensive than the minimum unit price.

England is not increasing its alcohol prices – and big supermarkets have increased their booze orders in anticipation of a surge in demand from Scots crossing the border to take advantage of the lower prices. 

Steven Atkinson, the manager of Morrison’s in Berwick-upon-Tweed, told Mail Online:  ‘We have increased our order of big packs of lager – we have bought an extra 240 packs.’

The price of bottles of cheap beer, whisky and cans have increased in Scotland  – but the nation’s favourite tipple, Buckfast, has stayed the same price . Mail Online has looked at the price of Aldi’s cheap cider, whisky, vodka and lager, and Asda’s red wine, to see how prices are rising

Shops like this one in Glasgow were busy changing their price tags this morning as the prices shot up overnight after the new law came in at midnight

The price of Glens Vodka has shot up at GG Brother liquor store in Glasgow following the introduction of the new law 

Bargain Booze, in Berwick-upon-Tweed near the Scottish border, could also see an influx of new shoppers from Scotland eager to avoid the higher alcohol charges north of the border

Majestic Wine, just over the border in Berwick in England (pictured) could see a surge in demand from shoppers because it is so close to the Scottish border

Mr Atkinson said he is braced for a big surge in demand when the hot weather kicks in and drinkers wants to stock up on beer for barbecues.

He said: ‘A lot of Scots came in at the weekend and asked us if our prices were going to go up too  – just to check.

What has happened to the price of alcohol in Scotland?

Scotland has increased the minimum price of alcohol to 50p per unit – making it the most expensive country in the UK to buy booze in.

This is what has happened to the price of some of the country’s favourite tipples:

Cider (2 litre bottle, Aldi Taurus), Was £1.99 Now: £5

Whisky (70cl bottle, Aldi, Craig & Crag): Was £10 Now £14

Vodka (70cl bottle, Aldi Tamova): Was: £9.99 Now: £13.13

Red Wine (Asda rich & ripe) Was: £3.19 Now: £4.88 

Beer (12 cans Aldi lager) Was: £6.29 Now: £10.82 

Buckfast: Remains £5.63 (above the minimum)

Source: BBC 

‘It is too early to say yet what effect it will have – but we think it will have some effect. We think it will have a big effect at Christmas and on hot days. It is being monitored by head office.

He said there has been some talk that Berwick-upon-Tweed could be the new Calais – the traditional booze cruise destination in France but ‘we will have to wait and see’. 

Meanwhile critics have also warned that bootleggers could try to take advantage of the law by selling their illegal – and potentially dangerous – alcohol.

Anne-Marie Trevelyan, the Conservative MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed, an English town near the Sottish border, said the country may see a new booze cruise route.

She told Mail Online: ‘It may be that this new Scottish pricing policy encourages entrepreneurial activity in Berwick to offer alcohol with a price differential from across the Border. 

‘I remember the booze cruise activity to Calais in France years ago by UK residents, and we may well see this happen at the Border at Berwick.’

The House of Malt in Carlisle is hoping to cash in on the change by expanding its lower range whiskys and laying on offers in its shops, which are near the Scottish border. 

Store manager Mike Little told The Telegraph he hopes the minimum pricing rule will boost his business.

One Twitter user mocked up a photograph of Theresa May and joked that she would not be making any more visits to Scotland after the price hike

Twitter users have said the policy could spark an English booze cruise as Scots try to avoid the higher charges imposed today

He said: ‘I hope so – a lot of the products we have are top end so the alcohol minimum prices won’t affect those.

‘However, we are heavily expanding our lower-end line, and hoping that those who live in the borders will come and buy from us, and we are running promotions for those who live in Scotland and are coming to visit our store.’

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