Saturday 6 June 2009

A weak case

More evidence, if it were needed, in this report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, that minimum alcohol pricing would not be an effective way of achieving its stated objectives. Ordinary families would pay a large financial penalty – £1.8 billion a year if the price was set at 50p/unit – while so-called “problem drinkers” would only cut down by a unit or two a week. This policy must surely now be dead in the water. It is the classic blunt policy instrument that penalises the responsible while doing little or nothing to change the behaviour of the irresponsible. And I still completely fail to understand why anyone would think raising the price of off-trade alcohol would lead a single extra person to switch their drinking to pubs, which in any credible scenario would still be charging much more.

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