Statements of the bleedin\’ obvious

Large supermarket chains would benefit from a £700m windfall if minimum pricing for alcohol was introduced across the UK, new research indicated today.

Tesco, the UK\’s biggest supermarket, stands to reap the most rewards, according to the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS).

The thinktank researched the likely impact of a 45p minimum unit price for alcohol – the controversial measure which had been proposed by the Scottish government but was recently rejected by opposition parties.

The IFS said such a policy would benefit retailers rather than the public purse, echoing an argument that critics of minimum pricing have used against the measure.

Of course.

How could it be any different?

Currently some of the supermarkets use low booze prices as loss leaders. Ban them from doing so and they\’ll not be making such losses on such items.

But over and above that I really never have understood these campaigners arguing for minimum prices. Are they really so bereft of the most basic economic knowledge that minimum prices will of course, inevitably, benefit the producers and retailers?

Heh, perhaps the whole thing has actually been cooked up by the producers and retailers? A million here and a million there to a few fake charities and that £700 million a year would be a nice return, wouldn\’t it?

5 thoughts on “Statements of the bleedin\’ obvious”

  1. It actually amazes me that you’re not speaking of a specific alcohol tax in Britain. Nordic countries have rather high alcohol taxes, and that of course sets minimum prices on alcoholic drinks as well. And it generates a tax revenue of around 1000 million € per year in Finland; scaled up to UK population, that would mean something in the ballpark of 10 000 000 000 £ per annum, I think.

    Sweden and Norway work pretty much the same.

    The good thing about is that you don’t really find bad wine in the shops. The marginal price difference between cheap p*ss and decent wine is s small that the local alcohol monopoly does not bother to sell the p*ss because people wouldn’t buy it. So any bottle you grab is likely to be drinkable.

    (For the low-income alcoholics, there are still available some mixtures for which there is even a research made to indicate the best price-performance ratio for getting drunk. But the actual hobos of course anyway drink windshield wiper fuild filtered through a loaf of bread, or purified from water/soap/denaturation substances with the help of a frozen iron bar, or something.)

    Tim adds: Oh, we do have booze taxes as well. Raise something like £5 billion a year I think. This minimum price thing is supposed to be on top of all that.

  2. The nordic countries also have an enormous problem with folks brewing & distilling hooch @ home & ending up with the sort of high octane stuff that sends you blind before you’ve finished the bottle.

  3. Certainly, if I were running a premium drinks company like Diageo (in the UK, they’ve nothing that’d fall below the pricing radar), I’d be happy to get my PR people to say “we support whatever measures the government is considering to reduce irresponsible alcohol consumption”. And the chaps who run the gbp7-a-bottle own-label companies (can’t remember the name of the company that makes Glen’s Vodka, but they’re the biggest volume spirits producers in the UK) tend to be non-media-friendly small-business types who just aren’t equipped to play the public debate game…

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