Vladimir McTavish: Edinburgh needs maximum alcohol pricing

It's May Day Bank Holiday, and the start of my annual month off the booze, a chance to give my system a bit of a spring clean.

Monday, 7th May 2018, 6:00 am
The price of a pint of beer in Edinburgh hovers around the £5 mark

I usually like to have a couple of alcohol-free months each year, not always the same two months. Back in January, when I was feeling a bit jaded, post-Hogmanay, a friend suggested I should give up drinking for Lent. I have always resisted this on two counts. Firstly, Lent lasts 40 days.

Secondly, it’s difficult to work out when Lent begins. Lent is the forty days leading up to Easter, which is itself the first Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. Best of luck working that out before you stop drinking.

My month on the wagon coincides with the introduction of minimum pricing of alcohol, whereby all strong liquor in Scotland now has to retail at a minimum of 50p per unit.

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Minimum alcohol pricing: Here's what you'll now pay

As most people do not have a clue what a unit is, let me inform you. A pint of beer is between two and 2.5 units. “What?” I hear you cry, having just put down your calculator and worked out that the lowest legal cost of a pint of strong lager is now £1.25. I know it has taken nine years for this law to reach the statute books, but it does make you wonder where the legislators were drinking at the time. A Wetherspoon’s in Airdrie?

Here in the Capital, we are used to pints hovering around the £5 mark, so perhaps the city council should pass their own matching legislation of maximum pricing of alcohol, say at £2 a unit. I’d drink to that!