The advocates of minimum pricing often describe it as a means of stopping the sale of alcohol at “dirt-cheap” prices. But, in fact, even at a level of 40p per unit, it would sweep up a lot of drinks that most people would not regard as in any sense “dirt-cheap”. So I asked blog readers in a poll how cheap they thought a 70cl bottle of spirits needed to be before it qualified as “dirt-cheap”. There were 56 responses, broken down as follows:
£14: 1 (2%)
£12: 2 (4%)
£10: 5 (9%)
£8: 12 (21%)
£6: 15 (27%)
It's never too cheap: 21 (37%)
So nearly two-thirds of respondents either thought that nothing over £6 could be regarded as “dirt-cheap” (whereas realistically there are no spirits priced quite that low) or that the question didn’t really justify being asked in the first place.
There was only one well-heeled snob who thought that even £14 a bottle was “dirt-cheap”.
But that’s the price which a 50p per unit minimum price would make the cheapest bottle of spirits. Go figure...