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Last Updated: Monday, 25 February 2008, 07:42 GMT
MacAskill wants alcohol tax rise
Alcohol on a supermarket shelf
Mr MacAskill said alcohol was too easily available
Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill has called for a big increase in the cost of alcoholic drinks.

Mr MacAskill told a BBC Scotland debate that consumers should pay more for beer, wine and spirits to help reduce violence and drink-related problems.

He said Scots had an unhealthy relationship with alcohol.

On the BBC's Wasted Nation programme, Mr MacAskill said he was "constrained" from doubling the cost of alcohol because the UK Government set taxation.

The justice secretary said alcohol was too easily available and too affordable.

He said it was time to "turn off the cheap drink tap".

Simply sticking the price up throughout the whole trade will not actually stop the problem
Paul Waterson
Scottish Licensed Trade Association

Asked if he would like to have the power to raise the tax on alcohol, Mr MacAskill said "yes".

He said the best tax rate would have to be worked out but even a 10% increase in cost would lead to a decrease in alcohol consumption.

The chief executive of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, Paul Waterson, said putting up prices across the board was not the answer.

He said: "If you go into supermarkets and so on, you will see ridiculously low prices being charged, discounted prices, irresponsible promotional activity.

"It is that we have got to stop.

"Simply sticking the price up throughout the whole trade will not actually stop the problem."

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