It's a shame that whisky is to get an increased tax of 55p per bottle on it. If the argument is that this will help combat the drink problems we have in Scotland, I'd disagree. Below is a press release a colleague and I put out which was printed in the local press on Wednesday morning. Essentially, we managed to buy 10 litres of strong cider for just £10. Later we found another shop had the same drink even cheaper! I'd be interested in hearing people's views on this. Its an important subject and a growing problem.
Councillors Blast 'Pocket Money Booze'
Arbroath Councillors Jim Millar and David Fairweather have expressed grave concern about the amount of alcohol that can be purchased at very low cost.
The pair set themselves a budget of just £10 and were amazed that such a small sum of money managed to net them ten litres of strong cider from a small shop.
Some research by an NHS alcohol unit in Dundee showed that their modest outlay provided seventy five units of alcohol, or the equivalent of two litres of vodka which ordinarily could have cost in excess of forty pounds.
The recommended weekly intake of alcohol is fourteen units for women and twenty one for men.
Cllr Millar, who is also Chairman of Angus Licensing Board said "I was amazed at how much alcohol ten pounds bought. This is the type of drink that seems to be favoured by underage drinkers which is a contributory factor in the anti social behaviour that is making the lives of so many people a misery.
There is little point in increasing the price of quality drinks that are already quite expensive on the basis that it is to try and curb what has been described as Scotland's booze culture, when this sort of stuff is on the shop shelves and can be bought by the bucket at prices that are cheaper than the equivalent amount of mineral water."
"Earlier this year David and I went out and about round the known hotspots in the town over two weekends and wherever groups of young people had been drinking, these were the types of bottles that were left lying about."
Cllr Fairweather said "The main cause of complaints to us as councillors continues to be young people indulging in anti social behaviour which is invariably fuelled by alcohol that can be bought for next to nothing."
"This is a situation that has to be brought under control and we will continue to work closely with the licensed trade, police and relevant council departments in order to keep this issue high on the agenda."
Concluding, Cllr Millar said "This is an extremely serious issue that cannot be ignored. The situation in Arbroath is no better or no worse than any similar sized town in Scotland, but we must do everything possible to find a local solution to what is in reality a national problem. "