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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?

Oodsigma Wed 13-Mar-13 14:13:02

As far as I could see the price increase wouldn't affect wine/beer much, more the large bottles of cider/lager/alcopops. I've not looked at it much

scaevola Wed 13-Mar-13 14:16:13

There's now Canadian data which shows that consumption has decreased, so it becomes harder tosa a there is no evidence his will work.

The propsed unit price still leaves booze cheaper (in relation to earnings) than it was in the 1980s.

And it's still going ahead in Scotland.

juneau Wed 13-Mar-13 14:57:52

And it's still going ahead in Scotland.

I know this is Scotland's intention, but when I was listening to Radio 4 at lunchtime it sounds like the Scottish government is tied up in wrangles with various alcohol producing bodies (The Scottish Whiskey Association, and wine producers in other EU countries were mentioned), who are fighting it.

scaevola Wed 13-Mar-13 15:01:20

The Scottish law was passed in May 2012.

HillBilly76 Wed 13-Mar-13 16:25:18

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HillBilly76 Wed 13-Mar-13 16:26:00

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GalaxyDefender Thu 14-Mar-13 07:41:46

I really hope this goes through. It'll make it harder for kids to get hold of alcohol - when you can buy a 2l bottle of cider from the supermarket for a quid, anyone can afford it. All underage drinkers need to do is find someone willing to buy it for them, and they're away. Round my way, you see 15-year-olds in the park off their faces, and this wouldn't happen so much if you could price them out of the market.

But then, I can be more objective about this because I don't drink. A lot of people can't disconnect and get away from how much extra this will cost them, which is probably why it's struggling in parliament. But we do have a massive issue with alcohol in this country, and it needs dealing with.
Still can't believe I actually agree with the PM on this one issue grin

msrisotto Thu 14-Mar-13 07:43:37

I'd be happy for it but if only they'd use the extra income to fund relevant services like addiction rehab centres etc. but they never ever do. It's crap.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 14-Mar-13 07:54:46

As the cheap alcohol problem seems confined to supermarkets wouldn't it be easier to rope in the Retail Consortium (or similar) and agree various minimum or floor prices for formats... a can of beer, a bottle of wine, a litre of spirits etc? Rather than the awkward 'pence per unit' the floor prices would be relatively easy to monitor and could go up each Budget. Then again, sky-high cigarette prices don't seem to have had much impact on smoking levels. Banning smoking in public places was far more effective.

lrichmondgabber Thu 14-Mar-13 11:17:25

Governments wont take on big smarket chains. They could just stop them selling alcohol altogether if they wanted to. But they wont. The Brewers win against governemnts too

IntheFrame Thu 14-Mar-13 11:37:18

I drink loads. I don't understand why they don't just raise the duty on off license sales and reduce it for on the premises consumption.

It'll stop people buying drinking at home where no one is watching and enable local pubs to thrive and breweries and wine growers to stay in production. Where's the problem?

gabsid Thu 14-Mar-13 11:39:44

Personally it doesn't bother me, making alcohol less affordable might be a good idea to contribute to curbing this binge drinking culture in this country. Its horrible and embarrassing, so many people here go out to get drunk, throw up all over the place and then claim to have had a great night out confused. I enjoy having a drink, but never considered being completely wasted as 'fun', just embarrasing.

Good way to make irresponsible drinkers pay for the nuisance they cause, e.g. ambulance, police, street cleaners.

Myliferocks Thu 14-Mar-13 11:42:04

Alcohol is a lot cheaper in some other European countries yet they don't seem to have the problems we do.

TheFallenNinja Thu 14-Mar-13 11:43:54

Bad idea. I'm an infrequent and responsible drinker. Why should I pay more for others stupidity?

juneau Thu 14-Mar-13 11:51:54

Yes, I agree that the supermarkets are to blame and that nobody benefits from cheap cider and lager.

intheframe the government will never pass a law like that because I'm guessing that a huge proportion of their voters do the vast majority of their drinking at home. They're the middle class wine drinkers and gin and tonic before dinner brigade.

It's the same reason they're chary about abolishing the benefits for wealthier older people like winter fuel allowance, free bus passes and TV licences - a huge proportion of Conservative voters are pensioners and pensioners, even the well-off ones, are already feeling squeezed because of super low interest rates.

IntheFrame Thu 14-Mar-13 11:59:53

TheFallenNinja because it won't make any difference to you if you hardly ever drink. If you don't want to pay an extra 50p or whatever for a glass of wine you won't because you aren't bothered.

If you have a problem and drink too much you'll notice it.

Personally I brought tonnes of wine at Christmas as the offers were so good. What should have lasted months really just made it in to January because it was there and so cheap I didn't worry. I still have champagne because that was over £10 a bottle so I won't just neck it hopefully.

IntheFrame Thu 14-Mar-13 12:07:49

I mention the pubs because it's really noticeable that only the middle classes drink in them now. We have no "rough" pubs in our town because we aren't big enough for the cheap Weatherspoons etc.

All the working class pubs have been turned into apartments and the others are all wine bars and gastro pubs. I think the middle classes are doing alright.
Interestingly you never see underage kids in the pubs like in my day now, as they can't afford £4.50+ a pint.

ppeatfruit Thu 14-Mar-13 12:12:31

Myliferocks The Danish other northern countries have horrific problems (sorry no links) with alcohol and their booze is MUCH more expensive than ours.

cumfy Thu 14-Mar-13 12:13:54

Why don't they just put alcohol duty up ?

At least that will generate revenue, and doesn't require policing/monitoring.

Alcohol costs UK society £20,000,000,000 a year, it needs to be controlled somehow.

MoreBeta Thu 14-Mar-13 12:41:51

I am not keen on a minimum alcohol price as the supermarkets will gather the extra profits form higher prices. However, I am keen on a unified per unit alcohol duty. At least the Govt will get the money to reduce public debt.

I simply cannot understand why Osborne has not pushed for a unified per unit alcohol duty. It is a no brainer as it is easy to implement and has the same effect as a minimum price.

The per unit alcohol duty would just charge the same price per unit alcohol regardless of what the drink was. Hence if the unit alcohol tax was £0.25 per unit a bottle of strong wine (12% alcohol) would have a duty of about £2.50 per bottle. Beer at 4% woudl have a duty of about 50p per pint and spirits obviously a lot more duty per bottle but the same per unit duty.

It woudl be a fair tax in the sense that no alcohol type woudl be discrinated against. Alcohol is alchol no matter how it is drunk.

Historically though beer was always seen as the working mans drink and taxed a lot less per unit than wine and spirits. Politicians were always frightened of taxing beer at the same rate as say whisky which was seen as the 'rich mans' drink.

Equalising alcohol duty rates would be a very good starting point and actually receive reasonable support I think. It would be seen as 'fair'.

MoreBeta Thu 14-Mar-13 12:44:49

Stopping supermarkets selling alcohol woudl also be a very good starting point for controlling consumption as well as requiring all alcohol to be paid for by credit card as then it would guarantee no one under 18 could buy it.

Myliferocks Thu 14-Mar-13 12:47:58

MoreBeta Not everybody has a credit card.

claig Thu 14-Mar-13 12:51:14

'Bad idea. I'm an infrequent and responsible drinker. Why should I pay more for others stupidity?'

Spot on FallenNinja, and that is why this policy looks like it is on its last legs.

The Tories are now worried that they will lose the next election, the progressives in the Cabinet with their New Labour nanny state ways do not have popular support for nanny state policies and some Tory MPs oppose the progressive policies. Now the Tories have to listen to the people in a bid not to harm their election chances.

Progressives penalising ordinbary people is now passe because the election is on the way.

The people are asking why the progressives are penalising ordinary people instead of solving major issues such as the economy and growth. If they keep gazing at their navels and penalising responsible people, they will lose teh election to the other group of progressives called New Lasbour.

claig Thu 14-Mar-13 12:53:15

If they carry on as they are, I wouldn't be surprised if they bring back New Labour's progressive bin fines. If they don't change their policies and if they don't concentrate all their resources on solving economic problems, they will lose public confidence and lose the election.

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