Pub bosses tackle booze cruise fears

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FEARS new alcohol legislation in Scotland could lead to a raft of Blackpool-bound booze cruises have been dispelled by publicans.

The Scottish Parliament has introduced a law requiring the minimum price of 50p per unit which will come into effect in April.

Dave Daly, North West chairman of Licensees Unite and landlord of The Castle pub on Central Drive, dismissed the idea of booze cruises as “a total exaggeration”.

He said: “Our organisation is in favour of minimum pricing because it will drive people into the pubs for a bit of grub and entertainment in a supervised environment rather than staying at home.

“The overall synopsis is it won’t affect pricing in pubs and the price differential won’t be that big anyway.”

Mr Daly also believes the new laws will soon be enforced in England, citing the 2007 smoking ban as an example of Westminster following Scotland’s lead.

He said: “What Scotland do today we do tomorrow.

“It seems to be a testing ground for England.”

Blackpool has been touted as one of a number of towns and cities across northern England which could be targeted by Scots seeking to take advantage of cheaper prices.

A row has already broken out in Northumberland as to whether its county council should try to entice Scottish drinkers into England with an advertising campaign.

However Craig Southall, of Blackpool Pubwatch, does not believe the new law will lead to more alcohol-fuelled weekends south of the border.

He said: “You’ll get people skipping the border and taking stuff back because that makes sense, but in terms of boozy weekends pubs aren’t going to be affected.”

Coun Ivan Talor, who is responsible for health on Blackpool Council, says Scotland is “way ahead” of England in tackling the problems caused by cheap drinking.

He said: “One of the killers is high alcohol cheap booze people are getting and that’s what we’re trying to tackle.

“We’ve got a serious problem with alcoholism and the government have promised legislation, but our Scottish colleagues are way ahead on this.”