So all the debate and speculation about minimum pricing continues to go round and round in circles. The latest report is that:
David Cameron's plans to increase the price of cheap alcohol are in turmoil as senior ministers warn they risk penalising responsible drinkers and depriving the Treasury of vital tax revenue.Precisely. While often perceived as a way to “to reduce the consumption of super-strength ciders, cheap vodka and special brew lagers”, and something that would only affect alkies and “problem drinkers”, in reality most of the people hit would be Joe and Joanna Bloggs sitting in front of the telly. I would guess that buying a discounted slab of Carling, Guinness or JS Extra Smooth on a Friday and steadily drinking it through the week is actually a pretty common pattern of consumption.
Separately, other ministers are warning Number Ten that the proposed legislation risks punishing both working and middle class families unfairly, triggering a dangerous backlash against the Government among key groups who will determine the result of the next election.
Senior figures in the Home Office believe those who will be hardest hit are the 'honest working classes' who enjoy an occasional tipple but have to watch every penny they spend.
'It's the guy who buys a multi-pack of lager each week and enjoys one or two after work who is going to be hammered,' said one source.
Wouldn’t it make sense for the government to get a definitive opinion from the EU competition authorities as to whether it is legal before going any further? If it wasn’t legal (which it pretty definitely isn’t), then they could just forget it and tell Ian Gilmore and the rest of his crew to STFU. If it was, then it would still be utterly wrong and counterproductive, but they could press on knowing that they could actually implement it and face the political consequences.