~ Should a minimum price be put on alcohol? ~
As a parent I can see the pro's to there being a minimum price being put on alcohol, when I was a younger (13/14) me and my friends would hang around in a park and drink. The drinks we would buy were white cider - 99p a litre and Lambrini - £1.50 and that would be more than enough to get us drunk, usually too drunk! Now I expect had alcohol cost more then we wouldn't have been drinking and doing the sometimes stupid things that we did.
Supermarkets are selling 2 litre bottles of cider for £1.70 or 4 cans of cider for £2. That is really cheap. It's almost the same price as a bottle of cola!
Putting a minimum price on alcohol could reduce or even stop underage drinking as kids simply wouldn't be able to afford to pay for it.
There's also people who are alcohol dependant and a majority of these people rely on the cheaper alcohols. As usually cheaper drinks have a higher alcohol content.
I can't help but think that if alcohol prices were not as low as they are then maybe people wouldn't be able to turn to alcohol but this could mean they turn to worse substances. I have personal experience with alcoholism - a close family member, I was very young when it started and they did drink the cheaper drinks at first but gradually over the years they did turn to more expensive drinks with higher alcohol content, another family member, closer again this time, has hidden the fact that they enjoy a drink a lot more than they let on, and numerous times has turned up at my house with gifts for my children very drunk but chewing on gum to try to "disguise" the smell yet I knew they had been drinking vodka and it would have been a £4 bottle from the shop. £4 for a bottle of vodka is very cheap, and if youngsters are going to try drinking etc.. I think nowadays they would probably choose to buy the £4 vodka over the £2 cider. So yes I think depending on the drinks then they should have a minimum price.
Quality branded drinks such as Southern Comfort, Jack Daniels, Barcadi, Smirnoff etc, are highly priced and this reflects the quality. I think as you get older you appreciate the quality of more expensive drinks over the cheap 'rocket fuel' 'paint stripper' tasting drinks so you would prefer to spend that little bit more money to get the better taste. Due to this I see no real need for the cheaper drinks so if they were stopped altogether then there would need to be no minimum price on spirits.
When it comes to alcopops they are not very cheap as it is, sometimes you can expect to pay anything up to £4 for a bottle of 4% alcopop. If a minimum price on these was anything over £3 I think a lot of people would just stop buying them. The same goes for lager and beers. Five years ago you could pick up 3 x 24 crates of lager/beer in supermarkets for £20, now you can get 3 x 10 packs of lager/beer for the same price so prices have risen a lot over the last few years anyway.
How high could a minimum price be before people would rather not bother?
If the prices were to be set at a minimum would you really want to pay, say, £6 for 4 cans of Carling? I know I wouldn't!
I like a drink when I go out and I will buy a bottle of something or a few cans to have with the girls whilst getting ready so I am thinking if I was to spend £10 for a few drinks before even going out I would feel like I have wasted money already!
So reading up on Scottish news, I see that they want to set the minimum at 50p per unit, a pint of lager is 2.7 units (depending on %) at the 50p minimum a pint of Stella Artois (4.8%) would cost roughly £2.50 but would the 50p minimum be for premium brands as well as cheaper brands, of course not. If it's 50p per unit for cheap lager, premium brands are going to be higher so a pint of lager could very well end up costing us about £4! Pubs and clubs would be out of business soon enough as that is a price a lot of people simply couldn't afford.
So after reading further and realising that the minimum prices have already been roughly set and seeing the brands that would be included it does actually make sense. Yes, it would encourage drinkers to either quit drinking or drink a more premium brand as they would work out roughly the same price and the facts that it could reduce deaths, hospital admissions, thefts and crimes makes it seem like a brilliant idea. So scrap my first view above as although I do see my point as valid if they decide to make this apply to all brands for the cheaper brands I see this as an excellent deterrent to a whole host of people.
The charts provided on the website I checked all make this idea sound very plausible and quite a good idea.
Website link ~ http://www.scotland.gov.uk/News/Releases/2012/05/minimum-pricing14052012