Minimum unit pricing for alcohol?

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  • Minimum unit pricing for alcohol?
  • Papa_Lazarou
    Member

    Since when have the Tories fought for the rights of poor people who drink responsibly??

    They’ve caved in to drinks industry lobbyists and put £ before protecting society (both drinkers and people in contact with drinkers).

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    You ban alcohol, you don’t get rid of it, you just drive it underground. And that’s really dangerous. People will import it illegally, or manufacture their own. The government won’t particularly want a huge upsurge in non-taxed alcohol with no quality controls. And you really don’t want people making home stills.

    and yet they don’t have a problem with the drugs “industry” doing just that.

    Well ok they do have a problem with it, but they know aswell as we do that prohibition is useless and yet they continue with their doomed strategy of sticking their head in the sand.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Well, that’s a whole other debate, but yes.

    There is an argument for decriminalising drugs and allowing Smack R Us stores to pop up on the high street. I think there’s (at least) two issues with this.

    Firstly, that sort of paradigm shift would be incredibly hard to implement, and I suspect widely unpopular. I can’t imagine many people not having an opinion on it.

    Secondly, making it legal sort of gives it a seal of approval, it makes it normal and ‘safe’. Whilst the dangers of alcohol are well reported, I’d hazard that the problem drinkers – the alcoholics and the ones who think a good night is twelve pints of Stella and a glassing – are actually a minority. Compare and contrast, say, heroin. Is there such a thing as a casual heroin user? Can you see people having a lunchtime wrap with their meal of a Tuesday lunchtime?

    For me personally, I’ve never touched any ‘hard’ drugs. Part of that is probably down to successful campaigning – I grew up in the 80s, so I know that Zammo chased the dragon and got a smack on the nose, and also learned the life skill of how to put a condom onto a banana – but I think a big part of it is that my brain perhaps recklessly connects “it’s legal, it must be relatively safe / it’s illegal, it must be really dangerous.” As such, I was drinking in my mid-to-late teens but had absolutely no desire to find out what that cocaine stuff was all about. (As an adult I’ve subsequently learned that coke is basically instant tedious arsehole mix, so I didn’t miss much it seems.)

    I can’t say for sure, but if harder drugs had been normalized when I was young I perhaps would have had a different attitude to them. And certainly they’d have been easier to obtain, my exposure to drugs and users is relatively tiny; I don’t think I even saw cannabis first-hand until I was at university.

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    Secondly, making it legal sort of gives it a seal of approval, it makes it normal and ‘safe’.

    Homosexuality used to be illegal. When it was decriminalised, did everyone think “I reckon I’ll give that bumming a go, now its got the official thumbs up” 😉

    johndoh
    Member

    Thumbs up? If they will fit too, then why not.

    b r
    Member

    It is when the state has to pick up the pieces in terms of policing, NHS and social care costs, which is the driver behind the whole thing.

    Careful what you wish for – what other ‘activities’ can we ban, MTBing?

    That costs the NHS.

    breatheeasy
    Member

    Careful what you wish for – what other ‘activities’ can we ban, MTBing?

    Nah, just put a minimum 45p per tyre tax on, erm, tyres. That’ll show those good-for-nothing mountain bikers….

    watsontony
    Member

    Careful what you wish for – what other ‘activities’ can we ban, MTBing?

    That costs the NHS.

    Yes it does. last time i was in A+E was on a friday night because i dislocated my shoulder. funnily enough the cyclist to piss head ratio was not as high as you would expect. believe it or not i was the only cycling related injury however there was a strong smell of alcohol and MOST of the other patients did not exactly look or act sober.

    johndoh
    Member

    was on a friday night because i dislocated my shoulder

    And how many patients on a Sunday afternoon are drink related compared to injuries caused through sport…

    soobalias
    Member

    They’ve caved in to drinks industry lobbyists and put £ before protecting society

    while i have no doubt this is correct, can someone explain it further.

    i imagine that there would be slightly reduced volume of sales, but with a higher profit margin – the production costs etc would not be changed – Does the ‘industry’ think that these will not net off against each other, or is there something more that Im missing?

    i have no belief in the “protecting middle england” story being peddled by mps. Middle england is well represented right here and the majority are in favour of min pricing.

    And how many patients on a Sunday afternoon are drink related compared to injuries caused through sport…

    The numbers ‘may’ even out a little in A&E but if you take the wards into account I reckon the alcohol related cases would more than hold there own.

    johndoh
    Member

    The numbers ‘may’ even out a little in A&E but if you take the wards into account I reckon the alcohol related cases would more than hold there own.

    Probably, but I was just countering the post – it is obvious there is going to be alcohol-caused admissions on a Friday night, just as there will be sports injuries on a Sunday.

    loum
    Member

    Firstly, that sort of paradigm shift would be incredibly hard to implement, and I suspect widely unpopular. I can’t imagine many people not having an opinion on it.

    Pretty true.
    People have grown up being told “drugs are bad (m’kay)”.
    It’s hard to shift opinion. And people don’t like to feel their world view has been based on lies misinformed.
    The exact same argument could be used against implementing an alcohol prohibition. The public just wouldn’t accept it. Too many have grown up with adverts of pretty girls and sunny holidays associated with booze that there’s just no way that it could be bad for you.

    However, the reality is that it’s not a case of “drugs and alcohol”.
    Alcohol is a drug. It’s as druggy as all the rest. Not the most addictive, or the most damaging to health, but on that scale it’s certainly more addictive and damaging than a lot that are illegal. If it was a new discovery, it definitely wouldn’t be legalised.
    But that’s not the situation we’re in. So it’s legal. So it’s “OK”.

    The thing is, cigarettes used to be viewed in the same way as alcohol. But that public perception has been changed. It wasn’t a “paradigm shift”, it was a long slow process. Small steps, since the eighties. With younger generations being more and more aware of the dangers than their predecessors, and smoking becoming less and less popular. There’s been a lot of opposition too, from hardened smokers addicts, and the cigarette industry dealers but the nation’s health has been improve and some would say that means times have changed for the better.
    This minimum pricing wouldn’t have been a paradigm shift, but it would have been a small step in the right direction.

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    Yes it does. last time i was in A+E was on a friday night because i dislocated my shoulder. funnily enough the cyclist to piss head ratio was not as high as you would expect. believe it or not i was the only cycling related injury however there was a strong smell of alcohol and MOST of the other patients did not exactly look or act sober.

    Last time I was in A&E – waiting to get my faced stitched up after an OTB incident – was a Saturday, early afternoon. There was a sorry procession of ‘blokes who should know better’. All signalling the nature of their injuries by what they were wearing. Cycling gear, football strips, rugby kits. All of us muddy, bloody and looking sheepish. From what i could ascertain, nobody was pissed

    Papa_Lazarou
    Member

    Homosexuality used to be illegal. When it was decriminalised, did everyone think “I reckon I’ll give that bumming a go, now its got the official thumbs up”

    I know as soon as the vote was passed in the commons and it got written into UK law, I took that to mean it was actively encouraged by the democratically elected members of parliament, so went straight down the local HGV cafe and got me some diesel, tobacco and bacon scented action.

    Klunk
    Member

    I have just had 10 days in Norway.
    About 76 NOK for a point, or £9.
    I did not have many of those, but we did drink our duty free allowance.
    Even with the high tax, and tight controls ( wine and spirits can only be bought from government owned monopoly of shops )Norway still has its fair share of drink problems.

    similar to sweden then, most small towns are completely dry and dead after 6. I like sweden and the swedes but it is pretty grim of an evening working out in the sticks on your own.

    IHN
    Member

    As someone has said, the A&E comparisons are not that applicable. The costs to the NHS of drinking are more likely to be found in (expensive)long-term chronic care, like renal dialysis clinics etc.

    The analogy with smoking is a good one. i was going to right something similar but couldn’t be bothered…

    rattrap
    Member

    Whilst the immediate conclusion is that it would result in less harm to health, the studies have failed to account for reactive behaviour by problem drinkers.

    The only people this would effect significantly would be problem drinkers, and if you price them out of legitimately sourced alcohol, then what you’re doing is forcing them into the arms of the bootleggers and criminals who are already running illegal stills and selling industrial solvents on a horrific scale.

    the health implications of an expansion in black market booze dwarves the likely benefits.

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    Yes IHN, thats ok on the surface of it. But in the same way as smokers cark it quite quickly, without requiring too much long term attention, after paying absolutely stonking great big amounts of tax, then surely everyone doing a George Best would save on the cost of long term care, pensions, Werthers originals, free bus passes, Tenalady pads, and treatment for going bonkers, and your legs stopping working.

    Rather than vilifying piss-heads, smokers and smackheads, Maybe a touch of gratitude may be in order from the health nazi contingent, as they settle into being a burden on society until they’re 112 while waiting for their 4th hip replacement

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    sorry cougar was just a throw away line wasn’t meant to derail the discussion.

    coke is basically instant tedious arsehole mix

    quite so, whereas booze takes a bit longer to kick you into arsehole gear 🙂

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    speak for yourself

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    (-:

    I was really meaning ‘instant’ in the context of instant soup or instant coffee, rather than making a damning social comment about the speed of its effects. But it’s an interesting point.

    Alcohol does seem to send different people different ways. Some people get giggly, or sleepy. Some people get nasty or violent. But it’s not everyone; I can categorically state that I’ve never gone out for a few beers and a fight, and would go out of my way to avoid those who clearly have.

    IHN
    Member

    Yes IHN, thats ok on the surface of it. But in the same way as smokers cark it quite quickly, without requiring too much long term attention, after paying absolutely stonking great big amounts of tax, then surely everyone doing a George Best would save on the cost of long term care, pensions, Werthers originals, free bus passes, Tenalady pads, and treatment for going bonkers, and your legs stopping working.

    Rather than vilifying piss-heads, smokers and smackheads, Maybe a touch of gratitude may be in order from the health nazi contingent, as they settle into being a burden on society until they’re 112 while waiting for their 4th hip replacement

    The beauty of this argument is that, whilst it’s obviously total bollocks, I’ll be buggered if I can explain why 🙂

    IHN
    Member

    I find that there’s a strong cannabis/tedious arsehole correlation when it comes to cannabis/weed consumption, although I’m not quite sure which way the causative action runs.

    Premier Icon D0NK
    Subscriber

    I can categorically state that I’ve never gone out for a few beers and a fight

    me too but some of my mates will equally categorically state that on occasion I have still acted a total arsehole, just not an aggressive one 🙂

    I have drastically reduced those occurrences by no longer drinking cider, it might be legal but it is decidedly dangerous.

    grum
    Member

    But in the same way as smokers cark it quite quickly, without requiring too much long term attention, after paying absolutely stonking great big amounts of tax

    Is that actually true? Sounds unlikely.

    what you’re doing is forcing them into the arms of the bootleggers and criminals who are already running illegal stills and selling industrial solvents on a horrific scale.

    the health implications of an expansion in black market booze dwarves the likely benefits.

    so the deadly effects are quicker and they need less nhs treatment before the Final Hangover? win win.

    oliverd1981
    Member

    The amount binge drinkers cost this country is amazing when you take into consideration both short term and long term costs.

    Of course the Town centre police, Renal nurses and landlords are all good taxpayers and would be quite happy to keep their jobs – the money doesn’t evaporate. Drinking coffee is more detrimental to the government coffers than drinking beer.

    Premier Icon binners
    Subscriber

    So the prefect solution to this is to develop a national moral obligation in these austere times? To (continue, as a nation to) binge drink…in pubs….thus paying tax? Even Wetherspoons? In fact… preferably Wetherspoons? But try not to get into too may fights? Well… not ones that require hospitalisation? Then pass away quietly in your sleep of liver failure – or get beaten to death in a brawl! Prior to retirement?

    Is that the answer? I’m prepared to give it a go.

    IHN
    Member

    Drinking coffee is more detrimental to the government coffers than drinking beer.

    eh?

    It would have little effect on landlords, as pub prices are generally above the minimum anyway. What it might affect are mad drinks promotions and, again, is this a bad thing?

    loum
    Member

    But in the same way as smokers cark it quite quickly, without requiring too much long term attention, after paying absolutely stonking great big amounts of tax, then surely everyone doing a George Best would save on the cost of long term care, pensions, Werthers originals, free bus passes, Tenalady pads, and treatment for going bonkers, and your legs stopping working.

    Rather than vilifying piss-heads, smokers and smackheads, Maybe a touch of gratitude may be in order from the health nazi contingent, as they settle into being a burden on society until they’re 112 while waiting for their 4th hip replacement

    Smokers aren’t paying the stonking amounts of tax they used to. Easy access to duty free nailed that one. It used to be cost effective to tax them to death, but the balance has swung the other way now: they’re costing more revenue than they’re putting in. Hence the change of policy to preventing smoking through social engineering. They’re the new “drink drivers” for public condemnation.

    And the other point. Pissheads aren’t getting less NHS attention than those in care till they’re 112. They just need to start it earlier. They might be croaking it at 60, but that’s after two liver transplants and being in nappies since 40.

    thx1138
    Member

    Norway has far lower rates of alcohol consumption than the uk

    Whilst I don’t doubt Norway (or indeed any country) has lower rates of alcohol consumption than the UK, I’d question the statement that it is ‘far lower’. I’d be interested in where such figures come from; whether they are from sales of alcohol or other sources. I’ve travelled in Norway several times, and stayed in family homes there, and the culture of drinking seems on a par with the UK, even if the levels of consumption may be lower per head. If those figures are arrived at using sales data, then they will be seriously flawed. Many Norwegians either buy illegally imported booze, or more traditionally, make their own. Wine, beer and even spirits production is very common in Norwegian homes, from what I’ve seen. The reason? Because alcohol is so expensive there. It doesn’t seem that putting high prices on booze actually does reduce consumption; and the fact that quality, especially in illegal spirits production, is unregulated, means that there’s a lot of really bad stuff there. Believe me I’ve been there, drunk the moonshine, had the hangovers. 😳

    Another important factor which makes using Norway as a comparison not all that useful, is that Norway does not suffer anywhere near the level of social problems we see here in the UK, so you simply don’t get the same connection with alcohol abuse and deprivation. Considering Norway’s still relatively high level of alcohol related health issues, I’d say their high alcohol price policy isn’t actually all that effective in preventing problems, and possibly counter productive.

    Nations like Saudi Arabia don’t seem to suffer much from alcohol related issues. Maybe their system is the best…

    nick1962
    Member

    Because the concept of price control has been the subject of a great deal of research and has been shown to be the most successful method of controlling alcohol consumption in the wider population.

    I think even price control runs second to Shariah Law 😉

    Homosexuality used to be illegal. When it was decriminalised, did everyone think “I reckon I’ll give that bumming a go, now its got the official thumbs up”

    😳

    thx1138
    Member

    Compare and contrast, say, heroin.

    An unfair comparison. Regular moderate, controlled use of pharmaceutical quality Heroin would actually be less risky to health than proportionately regular use of alcohol. The overwhelming problem with Heroin is that it’s illegality means it’s quality is completely uncontrolled and inconsistent, meaning it is contaminated with all sorts of often far more dangerous and damaging substances.

    The often misinformed and ignorant myths surrounding many ‘illegal’ drugs contribute to the problem; alcohol is actually more damaging than other drugs, yet socially acceptable and even encouraged. Most drinkers are reasonably moderate in their habits, yet we still suffer huge problems because of alcohol. Truth is that many people would actually be better off enjoying other drugs; find the chemical that suits you best. Unfortunately we don’t enjoy such freedom.

    Premier Icon teamhurtmore
    Subscriber

    Intriguing split within and between parties on this one. Economists such as Tim Hardord argue that dependent drinkers have a higher responsiveness than recreational drinkers to a change in price – despite arguments/logic that might suggest the opposite. So in terms of the intended effect (if this is the role of government) then the logic would appear to hold. But then you get the next argument on which is better a tax or a minimum price. The beneficiaries are different and one would expect broadly that Lab would support the idea of a tax (extra rev to gov) rather than a min price (extra rev to big business) and vice versa. So odd if it is indeed a Labour gov or coalition that ends up bringing in a min price althought looks like they will have to fight Europeand the drinks lobby on this one!

    So what will the supermarkets do in response. Buy our cheap cider at min price and we will give you 3 packs of fags for free!! I wouldn’t put it past them.

    The aim is to stop TEsco et al from selling discounted alcohol at below cost price as a carrot to get you into the shop , and whilst there do your weekly shop.

    Tax is an isssue, Yes the beer duty stays the same , But VAT will be added/ included . Where your 12 cans for £9.99 becomes 12 cans for £14 the VAT input to the treasury will go up.

    Its also to stop ‘Happy Hour’ and 2 4 1 promotions to tempt you in to the pub very early in the evening. You get in 6 drinks and stay as the barmaids look hot and you are certain one is giving you the eye. You then stay till 11.30 , roll out the pub and get stabbed in the queue for a kebeb. Bad times and huge cost for NHS.

    I think 50p / unit to be totally acceptable. Would stop alot of liggers from being able to spend their benefit money on booze , and might might one or two get a job ( nicking bikes )

    Duty is going up next week anyway , so expect 5p on a pint or more next weekend. Its still only 50p a pint roughly so as a percentage of your £2.49 not as much as to effect the MAP price in a pub.

    Premier Icon Cougar
    Subscriber

    Would stop alot of liggers from being able to spend their benefit money on booze

    I’d expect an increase in petty crime rates would be more likely.

    This is the problem, if someone is determined enough to do something then they’re going to do it. An alcoholic isn’t going to stop buying vodka just because it’s gone up two bob; when it gets to a point where they can’t pay for it, they’ll forego something else like (say) food, They’ll steal for it or they’ll get dodgy imports from a bloke in the pub.

    If we’re going to have addicts, in lieu of them getting help I think I’d rather have satiated ones than desperate ones. A junkie isn’t generally much of a bother when he’s got his fix (relatively, anyway), it’s when he’s run out that it impacts every bugger else.

    Premier Icon cinnamon_girl
    Subscriber

    I think the government should be wondering why people want/need to regularly get off their tits on drink or drugs.

    I think the people who post on here are GENERALLY well off/comfortably off but I think there are thousands, millions probably, of people who are really struggling financially, for whom a good drink is a welcome escape from reality. I’m not saying getting slaughtered is a good idea, just saying that for some perhaps (a period of) oblivion seems like the answer.

    Well said Karin, I completely agree with you and I fear the situation will worsen.

    Premier Icon El Vino
    Subscriber

    Duty rises and a ban on below cost selling would seem to me to be a better way of controlling price than Min unit prices, at least that way money flows to the government coffers. Supermarkets use booze to drive footfall, petrol, flat screen TVs and booze are the 3 lowest margin products on sale in your average superstore.

    Finally those of you doing the maths to say 45p/50p per unit is perfectly acceptable wake up! this is the thin end of the wedge, once the principle is established watch how it accelerates.

    oliverd1981
    Member

    Drinking coffee is more detrimental to the government coffers than drinking beer.

    Starbucks not paying tax

    It might affect are mad drinks promotions and, again, is this a bad thing?

    Yes – the idiots might fan out into nice pubs

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