The Sunday Telegraph reports that supermarkets will be handed a profits windfall worth as much as £2.2bn if Government plans to impose a minimum alcohol price succeed. Well, I really never saw that coming.
Here’s a scenario, although I wouldn’t go to the extent of calling it a prediction. Plans for minimum pricing are struck down by the European courts, and so in 2013 Osborne goes for a massive one-off duty rise to in effect replicate the plan via the duty system. Just imagine the spluttering in CAMRA beards – be careful what you wish for, guys... Given the legal risk, I do wonder whether the whole thing is a smokescreen for punitive duty rises.
And here’s an excellent blogpost by Snowolf on the dangers of minimum pricing. As he correctly points out, the higher the minimum price is set, the more people who will be prepared to consider buying from illegal suppliers. You may well not think it will affect your 4 for £6 bottles of premium bottled ales, but it certainly would if it went above 60p per unit. And. if you’re used to buying 12 cans of Carling for £8, as much of the drinking population are, if it went above £12 you would be seriously thinking about it. The higher the minimum price goes, the more its effects mirror those of outright Prohibition.