The fake charities such as Alcohol Concern and their bastard offspring Alcohol Concern Cymru were no doubt drooling over their lattes this morning as the Government's Alcohol Strategy was announced in the press. For the first time since the Second World War the Government is planning to interfere with free trade and set a minimum price for alcohol, all in the name of stopping late-night alcohol abuse, pre-loading and other such things such as making sure beer is not cheaper than water - it never has been - this was one reported very obscure study which no one can actually verify. Still that does not stop the Fake Charities getting their hyperbole in, step forward Eric Appleby, chief executive of Fake Charity Alcohol Concern, who said,
"This is a victory for common sense.
"We cannot carry on with a situation where it's cheaper to buy a can of lager than a can of Coke."
"We fully support the Government in taking action to clamp down on booze at pocket money prices and protect the health of our children and young people.
"All the research shows there is a link between price and consumption and we know that lives can be saved if a minimum price is introduced."
A can of lager cheaper than a can of coke! That's a new one Eric, please publish on your taxpayer-funded website where cans of lager are cheaper than cans of coke? 'Pocket-money prices' which means of course 'won't someone think of the chiiiildren', er they should not be buying cans of lager in the first place as its illegal. Do you seriously believe that raising the price of an item that is already illegal for them to buy is going to have any effect on their consumption of said items? If you do you are already seriously misguided.
Alcohol consumption has fallen by 14% in the UK since 2014 (Source BBPA)
There that is a fact, not a made-up story about lager cans cheaper than coke.
The extra cost to members of the public is said to be between £23-£100+ over the course of the year. Yes, that's right YOU will be paying more at the end of the day for the same product you buy now. Do you really think that selling a can of beer at 80p will make any difference to saving pubs who are selling beer at £3.00/pint? Of course not but as soon as this bit of legislation is on the statute book we shall see mission creep coming in with the fake charities demanding increases in the minimum price.
These proposals are nothing but a boost for the illegal manufacturers of dodgy drinks and the booze cruisers to Calais and Cherbourg.
An apologist for Alcohol Concern was on Sky News earlier, debating with Bridget Simmons of the BBPA, when confronted about minimum pricing and alcohol consumption referred to a rather obscure study down in British Columbia which suggests that a 10% increase in the minimum price of any given alcoholic product reduced its consumption by between 14.6%. And that's where we get to the reason for minimum pricing - its about reducing consumption in an already shrinking market. Hence the reason why the prohibitionists were jumping for joy this morning on the television coverage. Watching Sky News this morning I saw one fake charity after another being paraded onto our screens, as they were on a roll they started to announce other things such as increasing the minimum price, banning alcohol advertising and just generally showing their true colours of banstubation and prohibition.
As well as a minimum unit price, the government is banning the sale of multi-buy discount deals, increasing powers to stop the selling of alcohol to anyone who is drunk, introducing 'zero tolerance' of drunken behaviour in hospital Accident & Emergency departments, and bringing in a late-night levy so that pubs and clubs have to help pay for policing.
It is already illegal to sell alcohol to someone who is drunk - just how can you legislate to make something more illegal than it already is? This is one law that the police continually fail to to uphold - visiting City Centre 'venue' pubs to prevent drunks being served would be a start, rather than waiting in a van eating doughnuts for when the disorders happen a few hours later - yes Gwent Constabulary we are all familiar with your City Centre policing habits.
The late-night levy is also mentioned - already Newport Council have hinted that they will be charging premises the full £4000+ a year. This is in addition to rates which are supposed to already cover policing. Smaller venues will be charged the same as the larger ones as well - an inappropriate way of collecting any revenue.
I was looking for a comment to rubbish these proposals put forward by the Government today and came across this from, Dr Sean Gabb, Director of the Libertarian Alliance:
“These measures, if adopted, amount to an attack on the poor. The ruling class politicians who continually whine about alcohol will not be affected by minimum pricing or the abolition of special offers. I might add that none of them can be affected by such laws. Income aside, anyone who lies his way into Parliament can look forward to round the clock drinking in the Palace of Westminster of untaxed alcohol.
“But the measures will hurt poor people, for whom alcohol will become cripplingly expensive and hard to find. They have the same right to drink as the rest of us. Bearing in mind the problems willed on them by our exploitative ruling class, they often have a greater need to drink.
“The claim that drinking ’causes’ public disorder is nonsense. Alcohol does not run about the streets. People do. If people are making nuisances of themselves, the police should be instructed to stop behaving like some equivalent of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and to start protecting life and property again.
“The claim that drinking makes people unhealthy is irrelevant, where not a lie. People must be regarded as responsible for their own mistakes. Anyone who bleats about increased cost to the National Health Service should consider that drinkers already pay more in taxes than the alleged cost of treating their specific illnesses.
“We oppose all controls on the availability of alcohol to adults. Better England free than England sober.”
The Libertarian Alliance believes:
* That all the licensing laws should be repealed;
* That all controls on the marketing of alcohol should be repealed;
* That alcohol taxes should be reduced to the same level as the lowest in the European Union, and that there should be no increase in other taxes;
* That not a penny of the taxpayers’ money should be given to any organisation arguing against the above.
Naturally the Government proposals today only apply to England, the Welsh Government do want the powers to raise a minimum price in Wales, as being socialists they jump at the chance of another stealth tax to fit in with their bag tax.
With these proposals Cameron has finally proved that he is no longer a Tory and no longer holds any views of that the free-market Conservative Party once held. As Philip Davies MP said yesterday in Parliament
"May I propose a change for the Government when they are considering their legislative programme for the next Session? Will they bear it in mind, just for a change, that they are in coalition with the Conservative party?"
(H/T Dick Puddlecoat)
As usual when it comes to these matters I suggest you have a read of Chris Snowdon's Velvet Glove Iron Fist Blog.