Cross-border shoppers may head for England

17 September, 2007

Fears that plans to outlaw multibuys in Scotland could lead to cross-border shopping for alcohol have been raised by the Wine & Spirit Association.

WSTA chief executive Jeremy Beadles said there “undoubtedly would be” a situation where bargain-hungry shoppers would go to England to stock up on cheaper drink.

“You’re likely to see life in the border regions becoming very difficult for off-licences because they’ll be having to compete with businesses that have the full range of promotions at their disposal,” said Beadles.

“The UK is one marketplace and if you change the rules in one part you’ll create a disparity not just between Scotland and England but also between Scotland and Northern Ireland, which is not that far away on a ferry.”

Beadles is due shortly to meet Scottish justice minister Kenny MacAskill who announced the Scottish Executive’s plans in a recent speech.

He added: “We’d like to see the UK government intervene. As far as we understand, it’s very concerned about the proposals and the fact that they weren’t consulted about them.”

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