Monday 19 November 2012

More minimum mutterings

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.

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.

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.

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.


  1. Clearly the suggestion that someone might buy a load of discounted booze and not drink it all at once, but rather make it last a while, is one they are incapable of understanding. When Cameron and his cronies stock their wine cellars, do they then sit down and plough through the lot straight away until oblivion calls?

    No, and they should stop insulting voters by treating them like irresponsible juveniles.

  2. Thats what I did when I was an underage student in the US: buy a $20 24 pack of beer every Thursday and drink it slowly through the week.

    I think this is a very common way to drink nowadays, probably the most common. Its certainly the most cost effective.

  3. Nev: They wouldn't be affected by minimum pricing anyway. What they drink is expensive, paid for by us, and drunk by them at a cost of 0p per unit.

    Nothing they say should ever be taken seriously.

  4. You are completely right, Dick. The point I was making was about their attitude to ordinary drinkers who might stock up. Alcohol Concern and ministers assume that if plebs like us buy a stockpile, we're going to sit in a corner and drink it until we're incapable.

    I wrote on my own blog on 30 March 2009: "According to a press release issued in July 2008 by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, the House of Commons Refreshment Department received a subsidy of £5.5 million of taxpayers’ money in the 2007/8 financial year, equivalent to total annual tax receipts from 35 pubs. This subsidy, not published in the House of Commons’ Annual Accounts, was 15% higher than 2006/7."

  5. We have a government that has reached the limit on what it can tax regular folk, needing more income.

    We have a deep social problem with drink (whether true or not) with price identified as a problem

    The EU won't allow price fixing & that only makes supermarkets richer.

    A massive one off increase in duty is coming to tackle binge drink Britain. Off trade booze will increase in price and pub pints by more. The days of £5 pints are coming. (Maybe £4 in a Spoons)

    Well done to all the bearded twats that supported that one.

  6. "A massive one off increase in duty is coming to tackle binge drink Britain."

    Yes, that's looking more and more likely. It's something I've touted as a possibility already.

    "Well done to all the bearded twats that supported that one."

    Although it will be all-round bad news, it will be hard to resist a touch of Schadenfreude there.

    Maybe the Government will grasp the nettle of cider duty too. It's not looking good for the lovers of vinegary filth - see here.

  7. Alcohol consumption per capita is falling, both overall and among 16 to 24 year olds, which is why the puritans need to get in quickly before the public realises this.


Comments, especially on older posts, may require prior approval by the blog owner. See here for details of my comment policy.

Please register an account to comment. Unregistered comments will generally be rejected unless I recognise the author. If you want to comment using an unregistered ID, you will need to tell me something about yourself.