English MP: 'Scots don't need to be told where to find cheap booze'

Quality image of cheap alcohol booze in Scottish shop
Alcohol: Minimum pricing will come into effect next year.Deadline

An English MP has criticised plans to encourage Scots to travel across the border to buy cheap alcohol by saying they "don’t need to be told where to find cheap booze".

Veteran Labour member Ronnie Campbell made the comment in response to the debate over whether towns south of the border should encourage Scots to buy up cheap alcohol when minimum pricing comes into effect next year.

The Labour county council in Northumberland has put forward proposals to fund advertising in towns such a Berwick to promote cheap alcohol prices and promote "booze cruises" for Scots.

Mr Campbell told STV News that he felt such a tactic would be ill-advised as it would contribute to the problems of alcohol abuse Scotland faces.

He said: "Scots don’t need to be told where to find cheap booze, mind you, if the shoe was on the other foot, they’d be able to say the same thing about the Geordies.

"Although I think we will have minimum pricing before long, if there’s cheap beer, folk are going to come over to buy in bulk in places like Berwick.

"But the bad situation with alcohol abuse in Scotland is something that shouldn’t be worsened with something like this – that’s just me giving my opinion."

Members of the Labour group on Northumberland County Council suggested the authority might miss out on a "golden opportunity" by not setting aside cash to entice Scottish drinkers with an advertising campaign.

Earlier this year the Scottish Parliament agreed on plans to set a minimum price per unit of alcohol at 50p, which should come into force in April. The move was intended to reduce the devastating effect of binge-drinking.

A knock-on effect could see trippers head to England on "booze cruises", and the potential of increased revenues for those retailers ready to meet the demand.

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