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Minimum pricing
Today the government failed in its attempt to bring in minimum unit pricing on alcoholic drinks, and also failed to raise the off-licence purchase age to twenty-one. Labour’s amendment to restrict the caffeine content of alcoholic drink failed too, but changes to ban promotional offers on booze have passed.

I’m broadly happy with that result. The proposed changes would have penalised all drinkers; they were ill-targeted. And the caffeine issue is really geographically limited — is there something genetically wrong with people in Lanarkshire that sends them silly when they imbibe caffeinated alcohol?

However, it does seem that all the debate about alcohol centres around problem drinking, and the negative social and health impacts of alcohol. I would like to see politicians emphasise the benefits of drink. Government should support the social cohesion that pubs that give to communities, and should promote responsible drinking, particularly with traditional drinks like real ale.

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