Wednesday 8 July 2009

How Do Labour Hate Pubs? Let Me Count The Ways*

Like a drink in your local, do you? If so, Labour have declared war on your sort, you dirty anti-social bastards, you.

April 2008: Duty increased 6% above inflation.

Excise duty on alcohol is to rise by six percentage points above inflation from midnight on Sunday in a bold effort to curb Britain's steadily creeping drinking habit, the chancellor revealed today.

November 2008: Duty increased by 8%.

The pub trade was angered last night by the news that alcohol duty will rise by 8 per cent on Monday, offsetting the cut in VAT.

April 2009: Duty increased by 2% above RPI.

Chancellor Alistair Darling announced that the Government will go ahead with an increase in alcohol duty of 2 per cent.

Still to come: In January 2010, VAT will be increased by 2.5%.

There are at present no plans to reverse this increase when the VAT rates are increased from 1 January 2010.

When you add it all up, this means that since Alistair Darling's first budget 15 months ago, the price of your pint, merely due to government intervention, has increased by over 19%.

Actually, no. It's more than that, as this exchange in the commons yesterday points out.

Greg Hands (Shadow Minister, Treasury; Hammersmith & Fulham, Conservative)

Can the Minister explain how the Government's escalator currently works? Is it still based on RPI plus 2 per cent.? If so, at a time when RPI is negative, why was the increase in beer duty nevertheless 2 per cent.?

Sarah McCarthy-Fry (Parliamentary Secretary, HM Treasury; Portsmouth North, Labour)

Because we work on a zero base. It is an increase of 2 per cent. on zero, and it would not go back below that figure even though inflation is negative, so it is staying at 2 per cent.

The alcohol duty escalator, of which Darling is so fond, stated that duty was to be increased year on year by 2% above the Retail Prices Index. Except when the RPI dips into the negative, it would seem. When that happens, the Treasury mysteriously misplaces its calculator and can't seem to figure out what RPI plus 2% should actually be.

Or maybe doesn't want to. What do you reckon?

RPI was running at -1.1% at last count, according to National Statistics.

So make that an increase, in tax terms, to your pub visit, of around 20%.

The reasoning, as usual with Labour, is to protect your health whether you like it or not. But in the very same debate yesterday, a salient point was admitted which shows all this up as a sham of the highest order.

Sarah McCarthy-Fry (Parliamentary Secretary, HM Treasury; Portsmouth North, Labour)

In the Treasury Committee on 28 April, a member of the experts' panel, Mr. Weale from the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, said:

"with beer...All the evidence is that"

it is

"not terribly price sensitive."

Just a thought here, but if the aim of these duty increases is truly to reduce drinking for the good of our health, and the government are fully aware that beer is price-insensitive. Does one Labour hand have a clue as to what the other is doing?

Alternatively ... isn't this just a massive tax designed to raise income and (like other Labour puritan measures) nothing what-so-fucking-ever to do with health?

Where are the BBPA and CAMRA attack dogs on this? Still enjoying having your tums tickled, are you?

* Title nod to Elizabeth Barrett Browning


Anonymous said...

The stupid bastards forget that alcohol in many forms is very easy and very cheap to make at home.
As the vast majority of smokers stay home for a smoke and drink, it won't be very long before they quite happily stay home to smoke the tobacco that they have bought from abroad plus have the benefit of making their own drink at a tiny fraction of the price charged outside.
A win/win situation for the smoking drinker a big bad NO for the government.

banned said...

Just as they have been doing with tobacco for decades, incremantal tax increases are not intended to make us give up ( they couldn't afford that ) it is simply to maximise revenue while, purely as a by-product, showboating about how much they fucking care about us.

Shares in meths producers ?

Frank Davis said...

I think they've just set out to destroy pubs, and to destroy traditional British culture. They hate tobacco. They hate alcohol. They hate peanuts and crisps. They hate fruit machines. They hate juke boxes. They hate laughter. And above all they hate the idea of people sitting around in pubs doing nothing when they could be doing something useful like building blast furnaces or invading somewhere.

And they can make money out of what they want to destroy.

Anonymous said...

Politicians can only get away with
restrictive policies if people sit
back and allow them to.
The blame for the current attack
on the social fabric of Britain
can be credited to those who are
most likely to suffer the consequences,ie the smokers and pub
fraternities.The lack of action by
these groups fully justifies the
contempt the politicians have for
these apathetic sub social sections
of society.The smoking ban has been
totally vindicated by its acceptance and near 100% adherence.
To obey a law is to condone a law,
to change a law requires risk
taking,needs heads above parapets.
We should remind ourselves and those around us,laws are made by
men ,not GODS

Lightbringers Nemesis

Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs said...

I agree with banned: this is nothing more than the self-serving of quangos preaching to the population about the harm of drinking and smoking, while giving the government an excuse to raise taxes.

"The needs of the taxes outweigh the needs of the many"

BTS said...

I might start growing dope again..

banned said...

Sadly, I agree with Anon 12:31
The lack of action by
these groups fully justifies the
contempt the politicians have for
these apathetic sub social sections
of society.The smoking ban has been
totally vindicated by its acceptance and near 100% adherence.

I am as guilty as any but see no way out ( Except to give up both alcohol and tobacco just to fuck The Revenue ).

Anonymous said...

'give up both alcohol and tobacco just to fuck The Revenue'

Why give them up ?

Grow your own and brew your own. I do and don't have to hand over a penny in revenue while still enjoing my 'vices'

Dick Puddlecote said...

Anon had a good point. But then, it's not just the consumers who are at fault. One would have thought those who wish to avail themselves of the revenue would have used a bit more of their clout.

Pubs may have lost a lot of their smoking clientele forever even if the ban was lifted tomorrow. For many, the habit of going to the pub has been broken and the savings are now obvious. The hospitality industry representatives should have done more to protect their income streams but were seduced by anti-tobacco lies.

Now we have the same sort of problem brewing (sorry for the pun) whereby their drinking customers are being denormalised, yet they are still doing next to diddly squat to counteract the false propaganda.

Taxes are being ramped up hugely, there is talk of banning drinks advertising, yet they still can't see that they are the frog being slowly boiled.

Talking to government and pleading for help just isn't working. They tried that before the April budget and look how far it got them.

Smelling salts is what they need. Strong ones.