Tuesday, 30 August 2011

A tax too far

Words fail me...

The Liberal Democrats are drawing up plans for a controversial new ‘tipple tax’ on every drink sold in a pub – despite warnings it will cripple the struggling industry.

Policy documents to be discussed at next month’s Lib Dem conference in Birmingham suggest the party should push for councils to be given new powers to levy a ‘small per drink surcharge’ in bars and pubs.

The document suggests the money raised could offset additional policing and health costs that drinkers impose on councils, and therefore residents, in many towns and cities.

The plan was condemned last night by both the drinks industry and the party’s Coalition partners. Experts warned it would pile financial pressure on pubs, which are already closing at the rate of 25 a week.
Do these people have any grasp on reality whatsoever? It seems they have come to believe their own hysterical propaganda in which Britain is in a fatal spiral of rising alcohol consumption and drink-related health problems, whereas in reality pretty much the opposite is true. Not to mention the fact that we already have the third highest alcohol duties in the world.


  1. Agreed. They is doing it all wrong.

    My pub manifesto is thus:

    1. Scrap the smoking ban. Obviously.

    2. Scrap VAT on booze and hike booze duty accordingly. This will get the price differential between pub booze and supermarket booze down from 3-to-1 to 2-to-1.

    3. Auction on-licences. Being entirely fair about this, people leaving pubs do cause bother sometimes, and the amount of bother is broadly proportional to how late they are open, so the auction price for a pub shutting at 10 o'clock might be a couple of thousand quid a year and the price for a pub shutting at midnight will be tens of thousands, all of this goes into the pot to pay for extra coppers, ambulances etc.

  2. Wouldn't that then make supermarket bottled ales not that much cheaper than going to the pub then?

  3. 2. would greatly increase the booze cruise/bootlegging/illegal distilling problem, though...

  4. Taxes, no matter how you levy them, as now, by pub auctions, juggling VAT and beer tax, or whatever other variant, cannot solve the problems that politicians associate with drink. All you'll do is create a different set of problems that we have to learn to adjust to and then find more, probably equally unsuitable, responses to.

    Tax as a control mechanism creates rationing by price, which is obviously unfair, and the unintended consequences that Curmudgeon has suggested. We all know that there are people who misuse alcohol, people who behave badly on the streets, and some who do both. Their behaviour will not be modified by any such financial measures.

    Ultimately education is the only response that might have any chance of modifying unacceptable behaviour (something rather more sophisticated than just slotting it into the national curriculum under citizenship). The reason why that is not seriously done at present is because it would cost money, whereas using tax and duty as a method of control doesn't. So what if it doesn't work? They can still boast, "We did something."

  5. I always think governments overestimate the degree to which tax can be used as a means of changing behaviour as opposed to raising revenue.

  6. RedNev: "All you'll do is create a different set of problems that we have to learn to adjust to and then find more, probably equally unsuitable, responses to.

    Tax as a control mechanism creates rationing by price, which is obviously unfair"

    Careful sunshine. Much more talk like that and you'll have to remove the 'red' bit from your moniker. ;)

  7. Tax this tax that. Everyone is being divided. Cheap ale in the supermarkets, no, it is expensive ale in the pubs. Trouble starts after someone has had illegal substances not ale, the drunk may be loud may be a pain shouting politics, football, religion but can`t fight their way out of a paper bag, but the coke head is full of confidence and aggressive. The smoking ban devastated the pub trade along with the pubco`s(bonuses for directors). The answer to them is to sell food. A fad, remember the fun pubs. What`s the remedy. Local pubs owned run by the brewery, allowing smoking, manager not worrying about paying his rent, but concentrating on his customers.

  8. The Lib Dems must really hate being in government. They seem determined to make sure it never happens again.

    Duty, VAT in duty, Clegg Tax on the VAT and duty. They really are proposing tax on tax on tax.

    I can just see their next election campaign. "Thinking of voting for us? See a doctor, quick".

  9. Increased taxation seems to be the only tool in the politicians tool box. It's the stick which waorks best for them since it increases revenue whilst allowing them to hold the moral high ground. Nice and neat and tidy.

    I Tttally agree that the LibDems are gone and probably for a long time.

  10. The country is bust, someones gotta pay. Rather pub customers than supermarket lager punters.


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