Is It “Expensive” To Be A Drinker In Scotland?

How the SNP’s alcohol policy hits the lowest earners and workers the hardest.

When Erika Jayne was singing Expensive, she had Bentleys and million dollar diamonds in mind – or maybe a Friday night out in Scotland.

Scotland is well known for its strict alcohol laws. Much to the dismay of many ordinary Scottish people, particularly students who come to study at our amazing universities.

The Scottish National Party spin this policy as an attempt to tackle the binge drinking problem that is ravishing Scotland. However, there are many who believe this is merely a vanity project and an attempt by the Scottish Executive to encroach even more into the everyday lives of the Scottish people

The Alcohol etc. (Scotland) Act 2010 amended the hours during which stores and supermarkets can sell alcohol. It restricted the sale of alcohol between the hours of 10pm and 10am.

Now, you may ask ‘who needs to buy alcohol at 1am in the morning?’.

That may be a fair question, however on the other hand why should the government restrict when you can and cannot purchase alcohol?

It often feels like this particular change in law mostly impacts those who work late at night, rather than the binge drinkers it was aimed at. Often I have found myself closing the shop after 10pm and being unable to purchase a bottle of rosé on the way home to enjoy after a busy day.

Unlike Lisa Vanderpump, I don’t have a rosé on tap.

Is this a major travesty to my life? No. It is, however, one example of the ‘nanny state’ culture of the Scottish Executive as it casually erodes people’s rights.

Now, I am not pretending we in Scotland don’t enjoy going out and having a bit of ‘Turtle Time’ a la Ramona Singer, but it seems the SNP’s attempt at curbing binge drinking is more of a power-grab on civil liberties.

Which brings us on to Minimum Pricing.

Where do we begin with this shambles of an idea?

The hollow arguments for introducing minimum pricing include reducing the overconsumption of alcohol, in order to discourage binge drinking and reduce policing and healthcare costs.

The reality is that people will purchase alcohol whether it is at a higher price or not. All the Scottish Executive have achieved is taxing the poorest in society, while increasing the profits of the major supermarket chains.

Maybe they haven’t realised, but we don’t all have the bank balance of a politician, or a Real Housewife in Beverly Hills!

According to the Times, Scots have been drinking MORE since minimum pricing was introduced. It was reported that an increase of 1.8 million litres of alcohol were purchased over 46 weeks.

Clearly the policy has not had the intended results, so where do we go from here?

Attempts to help Scotland’s problem with drinking are to be applauded, however hitting the wallets of the poorest and the hard-working, while gnawing at citizen’s freedom to decide for themselves, is clearly not the way forward.

These policies are a futile attempt at placing a plaster over a very big issue that consumes the lives of many. Realistically it is helping very few, and irritating many more.

It may look like politicians have taken enough of our civil liberties, but they clearly want more!

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