Minimum pricing for alcohol

(227 Posts)
juneau Wed 13-Mar-13 14:02:23

A good idea or yet another example of the nanny state?

It's both, I suppose, but as someone who only ever drinks moderately and who thinks the cost of alcohol in this country is already ridiculous, thanks to all the duty slapped on by the chancellor, I resent the idea that I'll have to pay more for my modest intake just because others can't control themselves. The rebel in me is getting pretty fed up with being told what I can and can't do too, as a tax-paying, consenting, adult.

I also question whether it will have much, if any, impact. After all, if you're an alcoholic, is a modest price increase really going to make you stop drinking?

fuzzpig Thu 14-Mar-13 15:35:59

It wouldn't bother me as I rarely drink (not through any moral or willpower particularly, I just don't like wine, beer etc) but I don't really see it making a difference.

I do agree with what was said upthread about the special offers in supermarkets, it makes you feel like you are missing out if you don't take advantage of all the extra cans/bottles for a low price, and then you are bound to end up consuming more of them rather than leaving the extras to save you buying again next week.

pompompom Thu 14-Mar-13 15:36:08

God, Polaris sounds vile.

CredulousThicko Thu 14-Mar-13 15:54:29

shock OK, I just typed 'Sainsbury's Basics Cider' into google images, wtf is going on with that vile photo (6th image along on the top line)?!?!

Anyway, no I don't want to see an increase in prices, I'm a moderate wine drinker and don't cause any trouble to anyone (glass of wine at home in the evening, tucked up on the sofa type of thing) and I don't see why I should pay for other people's mistakes.

Never tried Polaris, but curious now...

caughtinagiggleloop Thu 14-Mar-13 16:03:44

I think it's a good idea. If you drink moderately, it's not going to affect you that much. Booze in supermarkets is too cheap and when I think of the number of "happy hours" and promotional nights I patronised as a youngster, I think it's way too easy to drink yourself into an early grave. I know somebody who started having heart problems about a month after he turned 30. He ended up after 12 months of issues, losing his job and was too ill to look for another one so was signed off and claiming incapacity benefit for a year. Now, 6 years later, he is married and has a child but still has issues and essentially is still here through luck. His life before was the same as countless other people in their 20s; binge drinking and just taking good health for granted.

One of the things people don't think about is the toll that binge drinking takes on your heart. Your liver can take a battering for years before you develop problems but heart problems caused by drink are a lot more common than people think. All of this takes its toll on the NHS. In fact drunk people in general cost us millions because of the damage they cause breaking things, getting into fights, vomiting and urinating all over the streets. I'm not generally a fan of stealth taxes but I can see absolutely no down side to this one. If I have to pay a little bit more to enjoy a drink, so be it. It'll probably encourage me to cut down which can't be a bad thing.

Pan Thu 14-Mar-13 16:08:33

Yes, caught, can we bust this stuf fabout the 'moderate/nice wine' drinker being affected by a unit price of 45p. Essentially Cameron has crumbled due to lobbying and fear of losing party sponsors. They'd much prefer to people die.

MoreBeta Thu 14-Mar-13 16:14:35

Coming back to the idea of making alcohol duty equal per unit of alcohol. There is stil significant disparity between duty rate son different types of alcohol.

From the HMRC page on Alcohol Duty the rate for spirist is £26.81 per litre pure alcohol and only £19.51 for beer and about £20 for normal 12.5% strength wine. Cider I believe is even less taxed than beer but th etax on cider is very complicated.

The beer and wine and cider duty SHOULD logically be raised to equalise with spirits.

pompompom Thu 14-Mar-13 16:17:53

"Anyway, no I don't want to see an increase in prices, I'm a moderate wine drinker and don't cause any trouble to anyone (glass of wine at home in the evening, tucked up on the sofa type of thing) and I don't see why I should pay for other people's mistakes."

Unless you drink really cheap shitty wine, then it won't even affect you. Most wine is a minimum of £5 a bottle, so would already be above the minimum price per unit proposed.

NorthernAnnie Thu 14-Mar-13 16:26:51

They should just put the drinking age up to 21, I imagine the largest proportion of 'problem' drinkers are under 21.

SqueakyCleanNameChange Thu 14-Mar-13 16:32:01

I agree with MoreBeta that whether we do it by minimum unit pricing or rebasing the tax system, the price of alcohol needs to be more closely aligned to how many units are in it. If you increase the minimum price of an average unit then the rich will still be able to drink themselves to death, which is sad, but unavoidable. Hopeless alcoholics with a source of income will spend more of it on booze and less on food which is sad but unavoidable.

But street drinkers will take longer to drink themselves to death, which will give a few of them one final chance to escape. Teenagers (and pre-teens) will no longer be able to drink themselves unconscious for two quid, so maybe less likely to get run over or become the street drinkers of the future. And supermarkets will have a huge incentive to supply a range of slightly lower alcohol wines and beers for their cost conscious "responsible drinkers". An army of MNers switching from 14% wine to 11% wine in order to keep their cost below four quid will give measurable decreases in breast cancer, bowel cancer and dementia rates.

pompompom Thu 14-Mar-13 16:33:12

And supermarkets will have a huge incentive to supply a range of slightly lower alcohol wines and beers for their cost conscious "responsible drinkers". An army of MNers switching from 14% wine to 11% wine in order to keep their cost below four quid will give measurable decreases in breast cancer, bowel cancer and dementia rate

Excellent point, very well made.

claig Thu 14-Mar-13 16:53:57

'Officials in Brussels told Scottish ministers they had to withdraw legislation to impose a 50p-per-unit price on alcohol because it was ‘not compatible’ with the EU Treaty.'

'Eurocrats have now ordered Westminster to wade in to review the Scots’ proposals, as Britain - rather than Scotland alone - is a member state of the EU.

But the verdict also deals a devastating blow to the Prime Minister’s own aim to curb the drinking habits of English and Welsh residents.

Despite being repeatedly warned that the proposals could break EU law, Mr Cameron has always insisted he was confident of passing the legislation.'

Maybe this is Cameron's plan to make the EU more popular and to stop UKIP in their tracks.

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2209692/Camerons-plan-minimum-alcohol-prices-left-tatters-EU-legal-threat.html

claig Thu 14-Mar-13 17:00:40

For the examples the Mail takes, cider would double in price and beer would go up by about 15 %

It won't affect the teetotallers in parliament, but it will create some discontented voters. This has own goal written all over it, and all the spinning on TV news channels won't assuage the voters when they look at their beer bill while reclining on the sofa watching the match.

Also what will it do to inflation figures?

www.dailymail.co.uk/money/bills/article-2119111/Booze-prices-rise-Cameron-calls-time-cheap-alcohol-minimum-price-unit.html

claig Thu 14-Mar-13 17:08:05

And all this from a Tory government, not the nanny state New Labour ninnies.

It's such a seemingly small thing, but it's a bit like chaos theory, the the flap of a butterfly's wings is the final straw and the public will show the Tories the door. 1 - 0 to Labour and Miliband is the one to score, that's why all his progressives are urging Cameron to go for broke and up the prize on booze for working class folk.

claig Thu 14-Mar-13 17:17:14

I bet the Guardian is right behind Cameron; he'll have the vote of every progressive in the land, but the good working class people will fail to understand why they yet again pay the price for what the toffs call a vice, when the champagne socialists and toffs quash their fine wines and champagne and show not an ounce of shame.

claig Thu 14-Mar-13 17:24:58

The workers would love to afford the wines and whiskeys that the Bullingdon Club members drink neat, but they can only afford cheap cider. The toffs say that these people are "off their face" and "off their head" on cheap cider and it has to stop and so the pleasure gap between the workers and the social nobility grows ever wider.

claig Thu 14-Mar-13 17:31:12

sorry, important correction, that should have been

"The workers would love to afford the wines and whiskeys that the Bullingdon Club members drink neat, but they can only afford cheap cider, not Chateau Lafitte"

caughtinagiggleloop Thu 14-Mar-13 17:33:09

Interesting points, claig. Just to throw a spanner in the works (and I apologise in advance if I sound really self-righteous), if someone is that hard up, why are they spending money on alcohol? It's not an essential. My husband and I are broke at the moment due to me being on mat leave and him being out of work. He got a bottle of whisky for his birthday and a friend bought us a bottle of gin as a thank you for letting him stay over when he had to catch an early morning flight once (we live near the airport). This is what we drink if we fancy something. The rest of the time, it's a luxury we can live without.

SugarMouse1 Thu 14-Mar-13 17:35:57

Well, can't people see that this won't work?

In Norway alcohol is really, really expensive, yet people still binge drink!

They just save up and go on a big bender every week/two weeks.

Plus it might encourage people to distill their own- which is dangerous- there is already fake alcohol being sold in shops.

claig Thu 14-Mar-13 17:38:16

' if someone is that hard up, why are they spending money on alcohol?'

because if it's good enough for the toffs in their mansions, it's good enough for ordinary working people who work 12 hour shifts in all weathers for little pay. They deserve whatever pleasures they desire and can afford, and to see their masters raise the price of what they call working class vice makes their blood turn to ice.

ppeatfruit Thu 14-Mar-13 17:42:19

sugarmouse I said the same upthread. about the Northern Europeans it seems some people just need to get out of their heads one way or another and not much is going too stop them sadly. IMO distilled booze is not much worse than any high proof spirits. Amy Winehouse died after 2 bottles of vodka it can all kill you.

claig Thu 14-Mar-13 17:42:19

'The rest of the time, it's a luxury we can live without.

But different people have different luxuries and they should be free to make their choice. It is not for toffs, champagne socialists and progressives to artificially raise the price of things that ordinary people enjoy. Tories are supposed to believe in the free market and getting off people's backs, but the toffs only do that when it suits them.

claig Thu 14-Mar-13 17:51:30

What will these people raise the price of next - cakes and then children's sweets? - while they can spend their millions on as many of them as they like.

Will they tell us on their TV channels that they have raised the price of cakes and sweets in order to save 5000 lives a year and to stop people getting 'off their face' on cake?

claig Thu 14-Mar-13 17:54:40

They are raising the price on rents for some peoplke who have empty bedrooms, they are raising the price on fuel, energy and water and rail prices are going through the roof, they raised VAT and now they want to raise teh price on cheap booze. If they carry on penalising poor people they are going to lose.

jesuswhatnext Thu 14-Mar-13 18:03:14

best laugh of the day? claig thinking that there are 'teetotallers in parliament! grin

claig Thu 14-Mar-13 18:05:14

Instead of raising prices on goods that ordinary people can afford and enjoy, why don't they sort out the hospitals, sack bigwigs who preside over failure, sort out the justice system so that people like the one we read about today, who stamp on people's heads and try to gouge out the eyes of police are sent to jail for long periods instead of avoiding jail. Why don't they invest their energy in sorting out the economy and making sure that banks lend to businesses so that people can be employed?

Why do they demonise the poor and say that people who can only afford cheap booze are "off their face", why don't they start serving the people who put them in? The way they are going, they don't deserve to win.

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