Tuesday 18 September 2012

The Impending Minimum Alcohol Price Escalator

Sadly, it looks like exactly what we have been predicting from our appalling government is coming true.

I've mentioned many times that the campaign for minimum pricing of alcohol is just a further means of control. Once the feet are under your living room table, they'll be ramping the price up at every possible opportunity.
When this small snifter doesn't produce the right buzz for the righteous, and it won't, calls will go out (not from the likes of us, natch) for something further to be done and the 50p, 60p, or even 70p unit and beyond is then only a circle jerk away.
Snowdon has warned you too, in many places.
There will only be calls for the minimum price to rise to 60p, 70p, 80p, and those demands will never end.

The 40p unit proposal is a Trojan horse. Once it becomes law, the temperance lobby will have a powerful weapon with which to incrementally raise prices. If 69p for a can of lager is “pocket money”, is not 89p or 99p also loose change? There is no correct price for alcohol. For the temperance lobby, the answer to the question of how much a drink should cost will always be “more”.

If 50p proves ineffective, we can surely expect campaigns for a 60p, 70p and 80p unit price in the years ahead.
And as night follows day, our government have confirmed that this will, indeed, the case. Here it is, bold as brass straddled across pages 3 and 4 of the government's statement of intentions.
Given the Government’s decision to introduce a minimum unit price, the debate has been about the level at which it should be set – whether it should be 40, 45 or 50 pence – but the setting of a minimum unit price will not be a one-off event. Once a minimum price is introduced, if it is judged to be successful, the level will need to be monitored and adjusted over time. A mechanism will need to be put in place in order to do this
We're talking here of a committee which will be entrusted to decide what the price rises should be, because you can be damn sure they won't be recommending reductions even in the very direst of recessions.
One way of setting the level would be to establish an advisory body (there are a number of these already, dealing with a range of issues) to analyse evidence and make recommendations to Government.
Now, how many people who believe in self-determination and freedom of choice do you think will be included in that body?

I'll give you a clue. Take a look at previous Department of Health 'impartial' evidence-gathering.

Meanwhile, the pub industry - who have been exhaustively fighting the beer duty escalator for years now - seem utterly clueless that minimum pricing is another cute donkey which is going to kick them very hard in the future, as Pub Curmudgeon pointed out last year.

There is such a lot of waking up and coffee-sniffing to be done in this country.

UPDATE: The Department of Health has pulled the report from its website for some reason. Fortunately, it had already been picked up and reproduced elsewhere.


Curmudgeon said...

And, even if the plan ends up being struck down by the European courts, there's nothing to stop the government achieving much the same result through the duty system, which would leave many members of CAMRA spluttering into their beards. Be careful what you wish for...

Ivan_Denisovich said...

I wonder how the BBC will celebrate the success of the campaign that it has so ardently supported. Champagne seems somehow inappropriate this time around.

…Zaph said...

Waking up and coffee-sniffing required indeed.

And of course, then they will come for the coffee-drinkers…

nisakiman said...

Ye Gods, I am sooo glad I bailed out of the UK ten years ago. It wasn't so bad then (2003), but I could see the writing on the wall. The business I had back then was gradually being regulated into non-competitiveness, so I sold while it was still (just) viable and got out. I've not regretted my decision, and I don't foresee ever living in UK again. Minimum pricing? Sheesh. What utter, total fuckwittery. These idiots shouldn't be allowed to run a hot-dog stand, let alone a fucking country...

Rob Fisher said...

I'm out of touch. Was that statement of intentions document released today? In any case the link is broken.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

They removed it already (yes, I've just checked)? My, that was lightning fast!

It was released this week. Fortunately, Google captured it.


Dick_Puddlecote said...

Nah. They tried that, didn't work. ;)


P JH said...

The pdf was renamed to it's final name - it's (currently) available from https://www.wp.dh.gov.uk/publications/files/2012/09/Cm-8439-Accessible.pdf

Frank J said...

Well, I'm a cynic. Follow the money. As far as the Govt. (any of them) is concerned, this like tobacco, is just a 'moral' reason for scraping more of our monies in tax and duty. As long as that 'moral' reason exists, more of our monies will disappear. So they'll keep funding these quangoes to come up with all sorts of 'research', 'surveys' and 'polls'. And they'll keep finding 'moral' reasons to increase tax and duties. In strictly business terms, to invest a few million in quangoes, third sector or whatever, to find reasons to impose increased taxes that will net billions, is a smart move.

Health has bugger all to do with it as far as they're concerned. It's a money grabbing exercise under the false heading of wellbeing. The prohibitionists have sold it to authority on that basis and the Authority, with £ signs in their eyes, have bought it hook, line and sinker. They'll never want any of them abolished, just squeezed dry. Each Govt. will continue with Labour being the worst, Every increase will be accompanied by heart searching moralities and the odd little ban to make it look good.

It's money grubbing shite.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Ta lots, PJH. :)

JonathanBagley said...

I'm very curious as to why the Government would publish a statement of intentions on a website and then remove it. Can someone explain its train of thought?