John Naish: twat

Instead, the medics should adopt an idea that may sound outlandish initially. It’s based on the idea of “make the polluter pay”. The booze industry should be forced to pay a levy proportional to the rate of drink-related disease its products cause each year. It’s some bar tab: alcohol misuse costs the NHS about £2.7 billion annually.

Lordy, you\’d think they\’d check the figures in The Times before publication, wouldn\’t you?

Excise duties raised on the sale of alcohol in 2004: £13 billion and counting.

Plus, of course, it ain\’t \”the industry\” that pays such taxes. It\’s the consumers. As would also be true of any levy upon \”the industry\”.

The Cabinet Office estimates the wider cost to Britain at £25 billion.

And I\’ll guarantee you one thing about that number. It only adds up the costs. They\’ll not add up any of the benefits at all: they\’ll most certainly not add in the longer lifespans that moderate (ie, between teetotal and 60 or so units a week) consumption gives. Much more importantly, they\’ll not add in the fact that people enjoy drinking.

Which is seriously odd, for why would people be doing it if they didn\’t enjoy it? Something which we should take account of, surely?

Quick question: anyone actually able to find that Cabinet Office paper?

15 comments on “John Naish: twat

  1. Since most epidemiology is twaddle, it is sadly true that the argument that moderate boozing is good for you may be twaddle too. But we can hope that it isn’t.

  2. So if tax on booze is solely to cover the externalities- then clearly it need to be cut drastically. Perhaps we need a subsidy?

  3. Also if we cannot get drunk then how can we( as Englishmen ) ask women to have sex and thereby ( eventually) have children who will live like pack mules humping our Public Sector Pensions et al through their miserable period of servitude.
    You have to think it through guys !

  4. Not the whole paper, but I did find this:-

    http://www.nao.org.uk/publications/0708/reducing_alcohol_harm.aspx

    “The Department of Health (the Department) estimated in July 2008 that alcohol misuse costs the health service in the order of £2.7 billion per year. Such misuse also imposes wider costs on society, such as crime and disorder, social and family breakdown and sickness absence. The total annual cost of alcohol misuse to the UK economy has been calculated by the Cabinet Office at up to £25.1 billion.”

    So, it’s the total cost to the UK (which I doubt includes the gain to some by the loss of others due to a salesman not turning up because he’s got a hangover). But you can’t include it anyway because me not making money because I had too many creme de menthes isn’t something that’s a cost to government.

  5. Quick question: anyone actually able to find that Cabinet Office paper?

    Can’t track down a paper with that exact figure. It seems that the Cabinet Office published a paper in 2003 with a figure of around GBP20 Billion and that has been revised upwards over the last few years, mostly by the DoH

  6. I think we (or at least, I) can assume that the statement “the total annual cost of alcohol misuse to the UK economy has been calculated by the Cabinet Office at up to £25.1 billion.” comes from the same speak your weight machines which “repeatedly insisted that newcomers contribute £6billion a year to the country’s balance sheet” despite the net benefit of immigration being close to zero.

  7. In that 2003 paper, the biggest single item (around a quarter of the costs, £4.6786bn) is listed as “Emotional impact costs for victims of crime”. Which sounds to me like a “pluck a figure out of the air and double it” category.

  8. @Umbongo, you gibbering twat, the £6bn figure is the same as the “close to zero” one. If you divide £6bn a year by 60 million people and 52 weeks a year, then you end up with less than a pint each.

    The “wider cost of booze” figures, on the other hand, are made-up bollocks.

  9. johnb

    Your argument is undermined both by your habitual resort to invective (really you should see an anger counsellor, he could do wonders for your blood pressure) and your limited statistical abilities. There is a distinction between comparing an aggregate gross figure of £6bn with an aggregate net figure (of close to zero) and OTOH calculating a per capita per week gross aggregate figure which also happens to be very small. The distinction is obvious but not, apparently, to someone whose preference is to abuse intemperately those with whom he disagrees.

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