The government has said it would not introduce a minimum unit price for alcoholic drinks in the near future despite being urged to by a key advisor.

Prime minister Gordon Brown said that he would not implement proposals put forward by chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson, which would punish moderate drinkers for the excesses of a minority.

The Scottish government's plans for similar regulation have been delayed, but should they go ahead in 2010 the resulting price differential is likely to see a surge in cross-border shopping.

Donaldson's proposals would double the cost of a multipack of lager, nearly double the cost of a bottle of vodka to £20 and set a minimum price for a bottle of wine at £4.50.