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First Minister's Question Time
Rt Hon Alex Salmond (Scottish National Party)
This issue has to be considered in terms that are much broader than just financial terms. The financial cost can be estimated at £2.25 billion a year in the extra services required, but the problems for society go well beyond any financial estimate.
I am proud of measures that the Government has been trying—in particular, the expenditure in the financial review, in these difficult times, to confront this problem. I am sure that our measures will be supported in the chamber.
I hope that people will acknowledge the evidence from trials in, for example, Michael Matheson's constituency. The trials indicate that agreed restrictions on the sale of alcohol to people under the age of 21 have produced substantial and sustained effects on criminality and disorderly behaviour. There is substantial evidence that such measures can make a contribution. However, many people in the chamber found themselves unable even to support the measures.