Mark Daniels is a long-standing columnist for The Publican and The Morning Advertiser, and in the past I’ve sometimes linked to his comments as a good example of common sense, particularly with regard to the smoking ban.
But I have to say his latest column is very wide of the mark. Minimum Pricing won’t make alcohol expensive, he says. Well, in a sense it won’t. Anyone on a comfortable income won’t regard £3.20 for a four-pack of Carling, or £4.50 for a bottle of red, or £12.60 for a bottle of Scotch, as “expensive” in any meaningful sense. Although I’ve occasionally taken advantage of prices below that level, it won’t make any difference to the amount of off-trade drinks I buy.
But there are a lot of people, who buy a lot of drinks priced well below that level. If your £9.99 bottle of vodka goes up to £12.60, it will be an overnight increase of over 25%. It may not make it “expensive” in middle-class terms, but it will make it a lot more expensive.
Large numbers of people on modest incomes will experience very substantial increases in the prices of their regular alcohol purchases.
Sadly this is yet another example of the arrogance and delusion of so many involved in the pub trade. Making cheap alcohol dearer won’t bring a single extra customer into your pubs. It might generate rather more customers for the bootleggers, though.
As Churchill once said, “an appeaser is someone who feeds the crocodile hoping it will eat him last”. Well, good luck with that one, Mark.