Interesting report in the Daily Mirror (of all places) that an internal Home Office report has shown little support for the government’s alcohol pricing plans. In fact, more people thought that a ban on “irresponsible promotions” should be confined to the on-trade, which rather goes against the promotion of the pub as the home of responsible consumption.
It is clear that, in the minds of the general public, by far the biggest alcohol-related problem in society is late-night disorder in town and city centres, which is overwhelmingly associated with on-trade consumption. If people want to wreck their livers in the comfort of their own homes, that is seen as their own problem, not a wider social issue.
While “pre-loading” does take place, it must amount overall for only a tiny proportion of off-trade alcohol purchases, and to penalise the responsible majority for the sins of the minority would be unreasonable. However, that did seem to be the stock-in-trade of New Labour policy on many fronts for thirteen years. And, if drunks out and about in town centres have been pre-loading, somebody has still sold them more drink in the on-trade, unless they wandered out of the house ratarsed.
It’s always someone else who is an irresponsible drinker, and once people realise they’re being expected to pay more, indeed a lot more, for their slabs of Carling and 3-for-a-tenner Aussie Chardonnay they’re unlikely to be too keen on the idea.