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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?

RobotHamster Thu 14-Mar-13 12:54:06

I think the supermarkets should be stopped from selling huge amounts of beer at discount prices (2 x 20 cans at £12 - that sort of thing). It should cost the same per can/bottle regardless of whether you buy 4 or 40. It just encourages people to buy more

You can't do promotional offers on cigarettes can you? Why is it allowed for alcohol?

Bridgetbidet Thu 14-Mar-13 12:56:47

It's just another tax on the poor.

It won't affect middle class drinkers who can already afford to buy bottles of wine at a £20 a pop. But it will affect low income families who maybe have a bottle of cheap plonk at the weekend or a few cans of Stella but will be priced out of the market.

It's just an example of wealthier people feeling that the poor need to be controlled and dictated to and prevented from doing things that the wealthier are able to do freely because somehow they equate having more money to deserving more freedom and autonomy over their lives.

Somehow people seem to see it as less morally 'wrong' for a doctor to sink a bottle of wine at the weekend than a chav.

It's interesting because people who consider themselves left wing would say they were strongly against taxes which hit the poor hardest but still seem to be delighted about tax on booze, junk food etc which are just a way of taxing the poor whilst claiming to have the moral highground. Sneaky if you ask me.

whiteandyellowiris Thu 14-Mar-13 12:58:01

against as imo it just encourgages drug taking, esp amoungst teens

claig Thu 14-Mar-13 13:01:38

'It's just another tax on the poor.'

Exactly. But fortunately there are Tories and the Daily Mail etc. whoi oppose these progressive nanny state taxes on the poor. I think the fear of losing popular support has forced this change.

'It's interesting because people who consider themselves left wing would say they were strongly against taxes which hit the poor hardest but still seem to be delighted about tax on booze, junk food etc which are just a way of taxing the poor whilst claiming to have the moral highground.'

It's about freedom. The progressives are nanny stat know-alls, they want to tell ordinary people what to do. But the Tories who oppoose this want to let the people be.

TheFallenNinja Thu 14-Mar-13 13:02:42

But where does it stop? It's not a case of not noticing or it barely affecting, it's a case of bearing the responsibility and punitive measure for idiots that drink to excess.

So I still oppose it and have to ask, why should I and other responsible drinkers be penalised?

Other areas where additional taxes are being discussed to curb the actions of the few are becoming more common, when does the cumulative barely noticeable price become noticeable?

I like sugar in my coffee. I chose to have one per cup, I also like the occasional fizzy drink and god help me I also occasionally choke down the odd kebab. All in the firing line under the auspices of saving lives when, lets face it, it is a revenue generator. I also exercise and stay within the healthy BMI.

If I am being responsible, I don't care if they propose putting tuppence on whatever it is they don't like this week, it is wrong because I am taking responsibility for others choices over which I have no control.

cumfy Thu 14-Mar-13 13:03:05

In order to obtain a revenue neutral scenario and balance total costs of alcohol of £20bn against the duty revenues (which are currently about £15bn), there would need to be a 33% increase in duty/VAT.

Really we should be looking to get revenues 20% above this so that alcohol is on a level playing field with zero-risk items.

That would imply a ~65% increase in alcohol duty/VAT.

Pan Thu 14-Mar-13 13:06:38

Ninja/claig - I don't think the reaons this idea is on it's last legs is anything to do with sensible drinkers paying more - it will be to do with the supermarket and brewery lobbies exacting effective pressure on vulnerable political points.

A 50p unit minimum means a mininum £4.22 for a bottle of wine. Big deal?

There seems to be a Tory apprach approach that says " we could save thousands of lives and save the public purse a whole heap of money. But....they are poor people and unlikely to vote for us, and it would mean a less of a tax take over all. Best find any excuse, no matter how thin and unconvincing( flying in the face of evidence) to draw back from this pledge, and instead make some vague noide about dealing with alcohol".

Pan Thu 14-Mar-13 13:08:05

or a vague noise as well....

cumfy Thu 14-Mar-13 13:08:36

One difficulty Ninja is that almost all alcohol users will claim they are responsible.

Revenue has to be obtained from somewhere to pay for the negative effects of alcohol, and it seems significantly fairer that it comes from alcohol duty rather than the only apparent alternative, general taxation.

ppeatfruit Thu 14-Mar-13 13:11:20

whiteandyellowiris alcohol IS a drug BTW and worse in its effect,esp. it's addictive efffect, than some illegal ones. Apparently the reason Keith Richards is still alive after the excesses of the 60s is due to his not knocking back whiskey with his heroin grin.

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

Pan, some Tories in the Cabinet and some Tory MPs appear to have raised their heads above the parapet. They know that these policies have no public support outside of some progressive newspapers, think tanks, bigwigs and TV stations who push these messages.

I wonder what UKIP policy is on this. Can you imagine who voters, who are alrready disaffected and concerned about the economy, will vote for? People who want to penalise them by increasing the price of their alcohol or people who believe in free markets and keeping prices down.

Progressive policies are unpopular; some Tory MPs know that and they don't want to lose the election by being on the side of the progressives and not the side of the people.

When the people are told of teh price of alcohol in the House of Commons' bars and when they hear of the expenses that progresives receive and then look at their own supermarket alcohol bills, they will start to ask what the priorities of teh progressives really are.

whiteandyellowiris Thu 14-Mar-13 13:17:20

oh yeah alchol is a drug but at least you know whats in it

teens could be taking anything, i find that more worrying, and they might just do it because they want to get feel out of when people want to get drunk, they want to loose up and let themselves go

and they may end up taking goodnesss knows what if alchol is too dear

sleepyhead Thu 14-Mar-13 13:17:23

The whisky lobby are being particularly disengenious - it won't affect prices of what most people would see as the "whisky industry" at all, but these companies are neck deep in the one-step-up-from-meths products which cause a lot of damage to communities.

ppeatfruit Thu 14-Mar-13 13:22:29

Well that 's not what the kids who have rhohypnol [sp.] 'slipped ' into their drinks found out grin

claig Thu 14-Mar-13 13:25:16

Labour are right that this is a humiliation for Cameron. He is increasingly fighting the wrong battles, making stands on issues that do not have public support and is therefore starting to lose credibility. Even parts of his party are losing faith in him. Who is advising him? UKIP beat the Tories in Eastleigh and if he doesn't concentrate on real issues and sort out the economy, UKIP will take lots of disaffected Tory votes - people who are not progressives - and it will be curtains for the Tories.

claig Thu 14-Mar-13 13:27:56

It's as if the economy is too tough to solve, so the progressives want to sort out alcohol pricing instead. But that is like waving the white flag and giving up hope and it is a red flag to the public who do not appreciate nanny state policies that affect them and not the House of Commons bar.

ppeatfruit Thu 14-Mar-13 13:28:07

yes sleepyhead I agree, IMO it's a cultural thing and is quite a dangerous one.We live in 50% of the time in Fr. which doesn't seem to have the same type of youth culture as us with the "going out just to get pissed" thing BUT so many working blokes are pissed ALL the time. sad

claig Thu 14-Mar-13 13:48:49

'David Cameron is this week expected to press ahead with controversial plans for a crackdown on cheap booze – despite claims that most of his Cabinet oppose it.

But the crackdown, which has already been postponed once, is being fiercely opposed by many of Mr Cameron’s Cabinet colleagues, who fear it will hit those on low incomes without making any real difference to problem drinking.'

Why? Is there nothing more important to concentrate on? Which progressive is whispering in his ear? Of the impending election does he have no fear? Shouldn't he keep his eye on the ball, pursue policies popular with all if he wants to do well in the polls?

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JustWannaDrinkAndDance Thu 14-Mar-13 14:03:32

Can I just add my experience of cheap booze from about 12 years ago?

I don't drink anymore, I had my first night out in 2 years the there other night. I binged. I probably won't go out again for another 2 years and i don't have children.

When I was 16/17 and in 6th form, the local club had 'student night' wednesday (no local uni's, not student ID required) so basically, a cheap night.

It was 1p to get in and 2 flavours of VK alcopop and 1 bottled beer would be 50p for the night, all other drinks £1 or £2.

I went out every Wednesday and got hammered with my mates for a fiver each. Fine, except I had double A-Level physics after lunch on a Thursday. I frequently didn't make it.

I never finished my A-levels (Maths and Physics) because I got too far behind and am 29 with the earning power of about £12-13k a year.

If prices were then what they are now, and some minimum was set, I wouldn't have been able to afford that sort of night out every single week, I wouldn't have spent every thursday too hungover to work and might have had a better education (who knows?)

I think it is always a good idea. If you only drink occasionally you will hardly notice the change.
It probably won't stop alcoholics and abusers of alcohol but it might prevent a future generation of them.

pompompom Thu 14-Mar-13 14:06:56

The minimum levels aren't that low though are they (apologies if I've missed them upthread?) - so a bottle of wine would still be about a fiver? Standard lager/cider would still be similar prices? What wouldn't be about is the gut-rot, cheap, disgusting stuff and nobody should be drinking that shite anyway wink

claig Thu 14-Mar-13 14:12:35

'Plans for a minimum price on alcohol are expected to be ditched in the face of a Cabinet revolt.
David Cameron has insisted on pressing ahead with proposals to outlaw selling alcohol at less than 45p a unit in England and Wales.
But sources say the idea appears ‘dead in the water’, thanks to opposition from ministers. Economists predict the plans could push the average family drinks bill up by almost £100 a year.
One minister said such a rise would be ‘inconceivable’ when cost of living is expected to be an issue at the next election. The minister added: ‘It would be political suicide and it will have to be abandoned.’

This is political suicide. If it does happen, then it is over for the Tories. The public is prepared to accept austerity, but there is only so much that they will take. They can't vote New Labour either, because they know they are just the same, so they just won't vote at all or they will vote UKIP. It is suicide for the Tories. But, who knows, maybe in their progressive puritanical zeal they will go ahead and do it. If so, it will just show that they have run out of ideas and teh public will kick them out.

KateShrub Thu 14-Mar-13 14:23:57

Booze is dirt cheap in Belgium, France, Germany, etc.

curryeater Thu 14-Mar-13 15:17:52

45p a unit isn't a lot - aren't most wines already priced at more like at least £1 a unit? Maybe gin is about 45p a unit in a supermarket already. If gin goes up, it won't be by much.

I don't think this will affect drinkers of anything but the drinks which are already considered declassé, like Polaris*. So in other words, if you are a £6 a bottle Chardonnay drinker, carry on, darling, carry on.

I oppose this because:

a. regressive tax, innit
b. I thought all the surveys were showing that it's more MC drinking that is getting out of control
c. only the drinkers of polaris will be deterred by this, and they are addicts who will now die, frothing and writhing in the streets. I don't want to have to see this and step over their bodies

*white cider, 7.5%, sold in 3 litre bottles for a few quid

curryeater Thu 14-Mar-13 15:20:11

oh sorry x-post with pompompom - wasting my time researching polaris. (on my little journey around the internet I found an image of Sainsbury's Value cider, which almost, but not quite, has the strapline "tastes vile, still gets you blootered")

flatpackhamster Thu 14-Mar-13 15:26:14


In order to obtain a revenue neutral scenario and balance total costs of alcohol of £20bn against the duty revenues (which are currently about £15bn), there would need to be a 33% increase in duty/VAT.

Really we should be looking to get revenues 20% above this so that alcohol is on a level playing field with zero-risk items.

That would imply a ~65% increase in alcohol duty/VAT.

Could you show me the calculations that indicate a £20Bn cost from alcohol consumption? I'd be fascinated to see how it's calculated.

I don't mean a press release, I mean the actual figures that were used to calculate this plucked-from-the-air claim.

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