By Nicola Branagh
Binge drinking teens in Scotland face a swift change in lifestyle due to the new drinking laws introduced in September of this year. The new laws state that all drinks promotions must remain constant for at least 72 hours, so will this result in rising prices for students living in Edinburgh? or will the laws, in the long term, simply deter binge drinking and underage drinking?
In introducing these laws that prohibit the sale of alcohol after 10pm and ban drinking promotions, unless they remain consistent for at least 72 hours, the government are aiming to tackle the problems of excessive binge drinking and underage drinking throughout Scotland. According to Scottish Info it’s estimated that dealing with the effects of alcohol costs the Criminal Justice System and the Emergency Services in Scotland £276.7 million a year.
However, Mark Cullens, manager of busy pub Biddy Mulligans based in the thriving student area of Grassmarket has said, ‘I do think the new drinking laws introduced will have an affect on long term drink sales’, but in terms of deterring binge drinking Mark Cullens said, ‘The only thing that will change is that instead of happy hour it will be happy week.’ Many people believe that students will simply sacrifice other things in order to afford drinking alcohol in nightclubs and bars. Peckhams Delicatessen, based close to both Napier and Edinburgh University, had a late license to sell alcohol up to midnight prior to the new laws, but is now in keeping with the new laws and only sells alcohol until 10pm.
The government feel as though drinking promotions encouraged excessive drinking and so many nightclubs have been forced to curb some of their two for one drinks offers. Nightclubs such as Lava and Ignite in the Tollcross area of the city have kept in line with the new laws by mainly keeping open at the weekend and closing during the week apart from Wednesday, which is always a popular student night, ‘POP’ is held at Lava and Ignite on a Wednesday with a cheap £1 entry for girls which is advertised through their Facebook events page. Many of the up-market nightclubs in the plush George Street area have opted to aim week nights at the student population of Edinburgh, and focus on and older crowd at weekends. On many of the George Street nightclubs websites such as Lulu and Opal Lounge drinks prices for the weekends are not actually shown. So although weekends are expensive in terms of student living weeknights are still reasonably priced for students.
Many bar owners have praised the new laws that have been introduced and feel they will help to curb excessive drinking. A spokesman from the Three Sisters bar in the busy Cowgate area stated that the new laws were a good idea, and many of the ideas were already in place but people simply didn’t realise it. However, will all students be affected by the new laws or will it simply be the students who were drinking irresponsibly in the first place? Many £1 per drink nights have been axed due to the new laws such as The Tron’s Wednesday evenings.
It is still possible for students in Edinburgh to go to nightclubs without having to spend a vast amount of money on drinks. Weekends are very expensive so many students avoid nightclubs at the weekend and simply go out during the week. Many nightclubs still have drinks promotions but keep them in place for the minimum 72 hours. So students that want to recklessly drink alcohol to excess still have this opportunity, but this is simply personal choice and cannot be deterred by these new laws.