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Minimum Alcohol Price and Publicans March 15, 2009

Posted by calvinus in Alcohol and Pills.
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So the government might be getting into deep (fire)water if they actually follow up on what their senior medical adviser suggests and hike up the price of booze by a considerable amount. If the problem is binge drinking then you might think that a minimum price per unit of alcohol would deter some people. But I doubt it will deter the hardened boozer that much. Can anyone supply a link (or lack of link) between disposable income and intake of alcohol per week? I’d be interested to see the stats for that. Oddly (or perhaps not), one of the more commonly heard objections to this proposal, and it is only a proposal (as it is likely to remain) is that it will lead to the death of the public house across the UK. This seems to be a little beside the point. There is something decidedly odd about supermarkets selling beer for less that the equivalent volume of water. Granted that this may be a little harsh given that the same supermarkets sell petrol for less than the equivalent volume of water, but why not hike the price per unit volume that off-licenses can sell at but freeze those that licensed premises can charge? Should keep the publicans happy. However, binge drinking remains a distinctly public sport. For a stay of execution, should we not expect publicans to properly exercise an increased responsibility when selling alcohol in the first place and support them to do so? Pubs are largely not responsible for the problems associated with our drink-obsessed culture but they are a conduit for some of its louder, more dangerous nuisances. Lets get to the sources of this behaviour – there is a demand for alcohol, and much as I would rather that high street shops didn’t sell beer quite so cheaply, lets not shoot the messengers just yet.

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