Saturday 15 March 2014

Minimum Alcohol Pricing And, Yes, Pubs

As mentioned this morning, the past week or so has been hectic to say the least.

I've been in extensive negotiations with one of our clients over two 7 year contracts which we have all but won, but which require treading on eggshells over the final agreed price. We've also had meetings with our bank to secure finance which our cash forecasting predicts will be needed before July if the contracts are, indeed, awarded. And while all that is going on, we've had a trainer in to help out with our imminent auto-enrolment pension staging date and had to have serious words with our IT maintenance providers after one of the deadlines for said contracts was almost missed (by a matter of minutes) due to our email system going down without our knowledge - we called them for an urgent talk at our place considering the rick could potentially have cost us over £5 million ... they turned up over an hour late!

Add in two parents' evenings; ferrying little Ps to and from far flung martial arts clubs, table tennis clubs and youth clubs; fixing damage to a back window caused by the boy's rugby ball; plus other stuff like, you know, sleeping and I've barely stopped for breath.

Looking through the draft notes I left myself while all that was going on, most have now been covered elsewhere, but this tweet from Alcohol Ireland is still worth pointing out.

It's quite important we nail this one because it is far from the truth. You see, if the concept of minimum alcohol pricing is allowed to be legislated for - in Ireland or here in the UK - pubs, clubs and restaurants most certainly will be affected in the future.

This is because every jurisdiction considering minimum alcohol pricing is using the Sheffield University bansturbation unit study as its prime source of 'evidence. And while said unit is error-strewn and changes its mind quite a bit, it's very good at removing links to the full report which Mudgie commented on in 2012.
Differential minimum pricing for on-trade and off-trade leads to more substantial reductions in consumption (30p off-trade together with an 80p on-trade minimum price -2.1% versus -0.6% for 30p only; 40p together with 100p -5.4% compared to -2.6% for 40p only). This is firstly because much of the consumption by younger and hazardous drinking groups (including those at increased risk of criminal offending due to high intake on a particular day) occurs in the on-trade. It is also because increasing prices of cheaper alcohol in the on-trade dampens down the behaviour switching effects when off-trade prices are increased.
Not only does the Sheffield model advocate minimum alcohol pricing for supermarkets and "pubs, clubs or restaurants" as the ideal scenario, it also contains detailed tables analysing many different levels of on-trade minimum pricing and the imagined effects they could have on consumption.

Anti-alcohol campaigners like to tell you that your pub pint is not threatened, despite the Sheffield 'bible' they are reading from describing in precise detail why it should be. Now, Alcohol Ireland are paid to read that kind of stuff full time, so they're either woefully incompetent - like Sheffield Uni's anti-fun unit - or are, err, lying?

Unless, of course, they are saying that they'll be happy with minimum pricing for the cheapest booze and will then shut up and be satisfied. Because all nanny state advocacy groups always do that ... don't they?


Kath Gillon said...

I still remember the old days of corkage when you used to pay an extra surcharge in a restaurant or hotel for alcohol. some places it was at 100%. whether this can be classed as a sort of minimum pricing for alcohol who knows but it did used to happen and apparently is still quite prevalent at weddings but mostly only if you supply your own booze.

Ivan_Denisovich said...

I have the original flawed analysis should anyone need it. I took the trouble to download it as the easiest means of copying chunks into a piece about the appalling standards set by establishments charging £9K a year to "educate" our children.