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Alongside all the fuss about the likely damp squibs of 2.8% beers, schooner glasses and High Strength Beer duty that have been introduced today, the Scottish Nannying Party government north of the border have sneaked in a ban on any form of price promotion or multibuy discount on alcoholic drinks. So no more two slabs of Carling for £12, or four PBAs for £5.50.

The thinking behind this is deeply patronising, that people are so weak-willed and foolish that they end up being seduced by these offers into drinking more than they otherwise would. However in reality the vast majority of people have limited budgets and use these offers simply to purchase a set amount of drink in the most cost-effective way. The idea that it will do anything to reduce overall alcohol consumption doesn’t really stand up. It may also act against the interest of less well-known brewers and winemakers, as shoppers will no longer have the chance to choose something unfamiliar to top up their 3 for £10 or whatever.

Presumably this also means that all those small off-licences that will sell you an individual can as well as a four-pack will have to price them exactly pro-rata. Yet I’ve seen the argument that selling single cans encourages problem drinking as it lowers the minimum price point for getting a drink, which is on a par with saying that selling fags in packets of 10 encourages smoking. Which way do they want it – big packs or little ones? And will a 35cl bottle of Scotch, pocket-size favourite of the street drunk, have to be exactly half the price of a 70cl one?

Anyone capable of a bit of forward planning will still be able to take advantage of these offers by purchasing from England via the Internet, or simply by calling in to Carlisle ASDA as they are passing.

Mind you, one trivial benefit will be that pubs will no longer be able to charge more than 50% of the price of a pint for a half...