Thursday, 13 March 2008

Cheap Booze

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. "


boozy betty said...

wheres the shop you can get the cheap booze at?

Jim said...

I'm not telling you. And I know who you are!

BenefitScroungingScum said...

My friends range in age from 18-80. I made a comment to some of the younger ones recently about what was the point of going out and getting so wasted you passed out/couldn't remember the next day/threw up/needed an ambulance/you get the picture. They all laughed and said what was the point of not.
I'm not sure the price matters so much, I think possibly if it became very expensive problems would become more intense as people would go out less frequently with a pressure cooker effect when they did. I think its got to be more about changing that attitude from the next generation up to take a healthier attitude to booze, and however much no-one wants to face up to it, drugs. The only way to do that is to ensure facilities are in place so that teenagers have something better to do than just get wasted in the first place.

I'll stop now. Fortunately I've fallen off my soap box. Ahem. BG

1st Lady said...

Did the shops get cheaper for you as the day went by? Perhaps all that drinking going on between the 2 of you was interfering with your counting of the change properly. Cider.. Och, I never touch the stuff.

Jim said...

Hi BG, thanks for your comments. You make an excellent point about cost. The distinct possibility is that when the price of alcohol goes up, people will pay for it, but the extra money will come from other things such as the food budget etc. Unfortunately, the lower a persons income, the greater effect this will have on their personal circumstances.

I agree with you about peoples attitude to drink too. The fact is that many places in Europe have cheaper drink than us, yet don't suffer from the same level of drink fuelled anti-social behaviour.


Jim said...

1stL, I like a pint of cider in the summer, but I suspect the stuff I bought was bordering on breaking the trades descriptions act as I doubt that there would have been many apples involved in its production!

Being a generous soul, I donated all ten litres to my sister! :-)