Continuing the discussion from How much alcohol do you drink:
So we are a few weeks into Scotland’s 50p minimum alcohol price and I just thought it worth reporting from north of the border.
The aim of this policy was communicated as improving health by removing cheap high alcohol drinks as an option - white cider, super lager and so on. You can argue from a political philosophy viewpoint for and against. It seems to me like a tax on the poor, although that is another discussion. The point I wanted to raise here is about, what I assume are unintended, side effects of the policy.
Scotland, at a macro level, has a bad relationship with alcohol and the Scottish Government is keen to come up with policies to do something about it. So far you can not have your online supermarket order delivered before 10am if it includes alcohol. However, the supermarkets are open all day on Sunday selling booze, unlike in England. And you can go to a back street pub and drink with brekkie too. There are also no multibuys of alcohol allowed. Majestic, who are rather keen on buy two bottles and get it cheaper, get around this by making a single bottle the same price as the multibuy in England. You can obviously still order online multibuys, so long as they come via courier from south of the border - for example when Waitrose do their 25% off all wine deal.
A new effect after minimum pricing is that vouchers the supermarkets issue, of say £5 off a £40 shop, now exclude all alcohol. They are worried in case the voucher might reduce some booze below the 50p/unit price. So when Waitrose send me £18 off £100, whereas I used to go and treat myself to half a dozen of their nice £20 wines, I now cannot and I don’t want to buy £100 of other stuff! M&S meanwhile seem still able to offer a free bottle of wine with their Dine in for Two deal. I’m not sure why. I wrote to the supermarkets and suggested that they exclude wine over £7.50 as even a 15% ABV wine could be discounted by 25% and stay at 50p/unit, but unsurprisingly I just got patronised back.
Scotland remains a beautiful, welcoming part of the UK, hell we even have sunshine this week; but blunt economic instruments to tackle social issues never seem to go well.