Graham welcomes council drink policy

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CHRISTINE Grahame, newly elected Midlothian South, Tweeddale and Lauderdale MSP, has welcomed last week’s decision by Scottish Borders Council to support the imposition of minimum pricing of alcohol.

As expected, the council unanimously approved a motion from licensing board chairman Councillor Gavin Logan when it met on Thursday.

Although a similar move from SNP councillors was defeated last September, members agreed that council leader David Parker “should write to the Scottish and UK governments to express our support for a minimum unit price [MUP] of alcohol of at least 45p and that both governments commit the licensed trade to invest any increased income generated in alcohol-related support programmes”.

Mr Logan stressed that an MUP was not a panacea.

“It is a small but important link in the chain,” he said.

“Tough policing and strong licensing boards have their part to play and education is important, for parents as well as children.

“The trouble is that booze is so cheap that children can drink to excess regularly and a small percentage of these children will die before their parents with alcohol-related illnesses.”

Ms Grahame told us: “I am delighted the council is now backing these plans which SNP councillors brought to the table last year.

“I also welcome the comments of First Minister Alex Salmond this his SNP government will re-introduce legislation on this issue.

“No longer can it be appropriate or justifiable for alcohol to be cheaper to purchase than bottled water.”