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'Buy one, get one free' alcohol deals banned

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MSPs have voted unanimously in favour of a new law covering the sale of alcohol in Scotland.

The Alcohol Bill contains a number of provisions, including a ban on discount drinks promotions, such as 'buy one, get one free', discounted cases of beer, and promotional material in alcohol display areas.

It also creates a new "social responsibility" levy on alcohol sales. Councils throughout Scotland will be able to use the money raised to offset the cost of alcohol misuse in their communities.

In addition, going forward all premises selling alcohol must have an "age verification policy" in place, which sets out the steps that staff must take to establish the age of someone if it appears they may be less than 25 years of age.

The SNP's flagship policies for a minimum price on alcoholic drinks of 45p per unit and introducing an under-21 alcohol ban failed to make the final bill, however, after failing to win the backing of the main opposition parties.

After the Bill was passed, Health Minister and Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: "I am disappointed the legislation is not as strong as we would have liked or as it could have been.

"It has, undoubtedly, been diluted through the absence of minimum pricing, which would save lives and reduce crime."

Meanwhile, Jackie Baillie, Labour's health spokeswoman, said: "The new measures to stop irresponsible promotions in supermarkets and prevent alcohol getting into the hands of children are a step forward in changing Scotland's relationship with alcohol."

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