Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Sunday, 16 November 2008

Plans for cheap drink clampdown

Beer bottles
The government plans to introduce strict rules on the pricing of alcohol

A ban on cut-price alcohol could be introduced next year under plans to curb alcohol abuse among young people.

The Justice Secretary has pledged to set a minimum price for a unit of alcohol to stop supermarkets and shops selling cheap beer, cider and spirits.

Kenny Macaskill blamed cheap alcohol for fuelling underage drinking.

He said: "There's been clear evidence from academics from other countries that bringing minimum pricing can actually stop the abuse of alcohol."

"We do enjoy alcohol in this country, we've just got it out of kilter

"We've got to get it back in balance and that's why it's about addressing irresponsible promotion and irresponsible pricing that's fuelling underage drinking."

The Scottish Government ran a consultation on "Changing Scotland's relationship with alcohol" between June and September 2008.

It proposed a range of measures to tackle alcoholism, including banning drink promotions, strict rules on pricing, and bringing in a social responsibility fee for retailers to help deal with costs of dealing with alcohol-related illness and crime.

Ministers have also proposed increasing the age for off-sales purchases from 18 to 21, although opposition parties have attacked the move.

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