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Monday, 14 July 2014

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Carlisle could become the Calais of England, fears city MP

Carlisle could become the English equivalent of Calais when Scotland brings in minimum pricing for alcohol next year.

John Stevenson photo
John Stevenson, Conservative MP for Carlisle

MP John Stevenson believes the city will see an influx of Scots stocking up on cheap booze, in the same way that drinkers make cross-Channel trips to Calais now.

That might bring problems of drunkenness and anti-social behaviour, prompting him to call for minimum pricing to be introduced in England too.

The Conservative MP said: “We have to be careful with the impact this could have on Carlisle.

“There is a potential for benefit in that Scots would come here to buy their drink.

“But there is a risk that there could be other issues such as anti-social behaviour. I don’t want to see people from south-west Scotland driving here then returning home under the influence.”

He added: “What we don’t want is Scotland going off at a complete tangent.

“We should be looking at doing the same. We want sensible alcohol pricing consistent across the UK.

“Credit to Scotland, they pioneered the smoking ban, which we then embraced in England.”

Mr Stevenson has already raised the issue in the Commons.

He asked the Deputy Scottish Secretary and Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell what measures the Government is taking to bring in minimum alcohol pricing in England and Wales.

Mr Mundell replied that the Government was “considering the position” but promised there would be “extensive consultation” before ministers publish proposals.

The Coalition Government has suggested a minimum pricing level of 40p per unit for England. But Scotland’s minimum is 50p and is due to come into force next April.

The legislation has already been passed by Holyrood although it faces a legal challenge from the Scotch Whisky Association through the European Commission and the Scottish courts.

The new law in Scotland would make it illegal to sell a 70cl bottle of whisky for less than £14.

Most wine would cost at least £4.69 a bottle and a four-pack of normal-strength lager £3.52.

Cheap vodka and white cider would see some of the steepest rises.

Mr Stevenson was a panellist at a fringe meeting on ‘tackling the binge drinkers’ at the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham yesterday.

Have your say

Hadrians Wall?????

Posted by dave on 15 October 2012 at 20:35

@ Royl on 15 October 2012 at 09:23

The State Management Scheme was brought in for a very particular purpose, at a time of grate need. It was about restricting drink consumption for a largely migrant workforce (who had little else to do but make munitions and drink), nothing to do with the off-licence sales. Also the State Management Scheme was responsible for the replacement of sub standard drinking 'holes' and the now famous export, of the 'Redfern' design public house.

If you must quote the scheme, at least put it in the correct context.

I think some posters have already hit the nail on the head, the cost of travelling to Carlisle is going to outweigh the savings... So where people currently have a choice, travel to Dumfries or Carlisle, then they may now choose Carlisle.

I don't for one second think cheaper booze in Carlisle is going to turn the city into some kind of wild west lawless city (other than the lawlessness it already has!)

Posted by PaulM on 15 October 2012 at 14:21

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