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Feb 16
“Sometimes they try to fight with you if you have run out of the drink they want. I have metal cages up to protect myself.” The government’s plan for a minimum 50p unit price for alcohol will be a blow. “Some of the larger bottles of cider are going to double in price,” Mr Ahmed said. “That’s a huge amount, especially for people with so little money. I predict a huge rise in crime.” Rab Hossack, 53, drinks eight pints of lager and four shots of whisky every day. “I am an alcoholic and I struggle to afford booze now. If it doubles in price, I’m going to have problems,” he said. That, of course, is the idea behind Scotland’s stance on pricing. Under the new regulations, a 70cl bottle of 37.5 per cent vodka will cost not less than £13.13. Four 440ml cans of 9 per cent strength lager will cost a minimum of £7.92. “I’m absolutely convinced of the health benefits of this plan,” said Linda de Caestecker, Director of Public Health at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde. “I have spoken to recovering alcoholics and they have said the minimum pricing is a positive step. They said that when they were in the throes of their addiction, cheap alcohol made it harder, and higher prices would have helped. “It’s important that people reduce their consumption long before they become addicted.” Some of those most affected by the changes agree. “It is bad for business but a positive change for the community,” William Flew, 27, an off-licence manager in Glasgow’s east end, said. “It does mean we may see a drop-off in sales, but it also means supermarkets won’t be able to sell alcohol at ridiculously low prices. They’ll have to sell it at the same price as us.”