Are these people really this stupid?

Minimum alcohol price in Scotland to be set at 50p a unit

A bottle of wine will be at least £4.69 and four cans of lager £3.52 under Scottish ministers\’ proposals

1) It\’s illegal.

2) If you want to raiwe the price of something why in buggery are you giving the profits to the producers rather than claiming it in tax?

Scottish Labour is also preparing to support the policy if Alex Salmond\’s government presses on with plans for a £130m \”health levy\” on supermarkets to claw back the £125m increase in their revenues from a 50p minimum price.

Why the fuck are they doing it that way? Just increase the tax on booze in the first damn place! Are they all mad?

Seriously, can someone explain this idiocy to me?

37 thoughts on “Are these people really this stupid?”

  1. More importantly, Scottish Politicians.

    I recall all the hand wringing over a Jonny Walker plant being closed. The politicians there where furiously trying to tax it’s products, while at the same time offering to subsidise the production.

  2. If our enlightened leaders only raise the tax levels (yet again) the evil supermarkets could still sell alcohol as a loss leader thus leaving it in the reach of children who can only afford “pocket money prices”.

    By introducing a minimum price (that they will mercilessly raise year on year) they are hoping to emulate the Swedish black market booze model ……

  3. If our enlightened leaders only raise the tax levels (yet again) the evil supermarkets could still sell alcohol as a loss leader thus leaving it in the reach of children who can only afford “pocket money prices”.

    But the taxes on booze are generally in the form of £ per litre, anyway (banded for the alcohol content), not to the shelf-price.

    But I’ll second David M’s comment. The bastards are running the entire country as if it were a particularly feral Glasgow slum. Every policy seems to be based on the perception that if “they don’t do something” we are going to regress to neds and sengas, Buckie in one hand and a machete in the other, all the way from Coldstream to Saxa Vord.

  4. 1) the minimum alcohol price will raise the lowest price of a retail bottle of spirits from GBP8 to GBP13.

    2) GBP8 is the retail price of non-branded supermarket spirits distilled by small, low-margin producers.

    3) GBP13 is the retail price of the bottom-of-range spirits (Smirnoff, Gordon’s, Bell’s) distilled by Diageo, one of Scotland’s largest employers and most powerful business lobbyists.

  5. I must admit I picked Saxa Vord because that’s was the most northerly pub I’m aware of in the UK …

    Skaw, of course, being almost in the nancy south, barely north of Lerwick.

    The strangest pub I ever went in to was the non-residents bar at (I think) the Lerwick Hotel. A mate was working in the bar inside and I went to meet him at the end of his shift. Being a well trained Jock, I arrived and just followed the Tennants sign. Oops. I had got as far as ordering my pint before realising that this was banjo territory.

  6. So Much For Subtlety

    Is it a vast plot to enrich Tory donors? Certainly in Victorian times brewers were a major source of Conservative MPs and donations.

    God, I would like to think this is an actual sensible decision and not the usual Cameron cluster-f**k.

  7. Is it a vast plot to enrich Tory donors?

    Clearly not in the frozen north. And, as the benefits are likely to accrue to the vendors rather than the brewers (Lord Sainsbury, as an example), I rather feel this is a combination of statist puritanism and the usual cockup.

  8. the great redacto

    are you still up for opening booze warehouses in longtown and berwick? quite a tidy sum to be made.

  9. I think what is at issue is the price at which the consumer pays. The problem that is sought to be solved is the fact that supermarkets and other shops sell alcohol at knock off prices for goals such as stock clearance.

    By merely increasing the duty there is a far lower effect on this as there is with a minimum price.

  10. Also this policy is nowhere near as bad as having minimum prices on oil, bread or milk as there is a large difference in quality between the different beverages so eliminating the bad beverages won’t cause the sort of economic ruin associated with other price controls.

  11. “I would like to think this is an actual sensible decision”

    No. Having failed to do anything sensible with any real responsibility of government, for instance Defence, and beginning to fail at the favourite of student politicians (Reform of The House of Lords), the government has quite understandably turned to drink.

  12. Also, this is being added separately from the existing excise tax because it’s based not on volume or type of alcohol but on those notional “units”, thus allowing justifying more price inflation because it’s a Health Thing, like http://www.change4life.com.

  13. An increase in excise duty would hit the pols’ taste for high end booze, whereas minimum pricing just boots the plebs in the balls instead?

    Of course, the price of the high end stuff will go up too as producers and retailers try to maintain brand differential, so they’ll end up paying extra as well.

    Don’t worry though, they’ll tax the supermarkets and award themselves higher ‘expenses’ to compensate.

  14. SMFS, CHF, etc: This is nothing to do with David Cameron or the Tories, it’s a Scottish government decision.

  15. The breathtaking arrogance of politicians, swigging back cheap booze, subsidised by taxpayers, at the H o C while raising the price for the rest of us.

  16. This is nothing to do with David Cameron or the Tories, it’s a Scottish government decision.

    Except that the Cleggalition are doing / trying to do exactly the same thing – although they’ve chosen 40p per unit rather than 50p.

  17. SurrepEvil it’ll be like the two unions in I’M Alright Jack. The Scottish government will raise their minimum price so that no English people will go to Scotland to buy booze, and vice versa with the English government. Thus enduring the minimum price steadily rises over time. This decision to go for 50p in Scotland guarantees Cameron will plump for 50p for us. Heck what does the toff git care if it’s £1.50 a unit, he’ll still be able to afford it.

  18. “Also, this is being added separately from the existing excise tax because it’s based not on volume or type of alcohol but on those notional units”

    Erm. No. You’ve got things arse-about-tit.

    A “unit” is 10ml of ethanol. That is all it is.

    The alcohol excise system is Bloody Stupid, taxing the same quantity of ethanol at wildly different rates based on arcane historical differences from the days when accurate appraisal of ethanol rates was impossible, plus the occasional bribe to farmers.

    Although a minimum price system is not very sensible in itself, the way it is being levied is entirely sensible: the minimum price will be GBP50 for a litre of pure ethanol, whether it’s in the form of gin, cider, shandy or Buckfast.

  19. Alcohol duties and taxes need overhauling from top to bottom. If we’re going to have ‘sin taxation’ then at least let’s be smart about it. The current system leaves Chancellors politically exposed no matter what they do about duty, and the whole system is a complete dog’s dinner.

    It’s a problem I occasionally think about, but still haven’t come up with anything I’m happy with.

    What I do know is that putting extra money into supermarkets’ tills is not going to solve the problem, and it will only fuel even more resentment of supermarket profits when people twig that they are government-induced.

  20. One way for the supermarkets to try to get round this, would be to give discount vouchers based on the total value of your shopping trolley, such as £12 off if you spend £60 in one go. A lot will depend on the wording of the legislation.

  21. Peter MacFarlane

    EU to the rescue!

    (But once that happens, they’ll just put up the tax anyway).

    The real solution is to make your own; now, where did I put that old hot water cylinder?

  22. I buy my wine in France; I’m currently swigging a perfectly drinkable Corbieres that cost just under 11p per unit.

  23. Surreptitious, there are two Skaws in Shetland – one in Whalsay, which has Britain’s most northerly golf course, and one in Unst, which is Britain’s most northerly inhabited settlement. I believe that drinking has been known to go on in both.

  24. “Why the fuck are they doing it that way? Just increase the tax on booze in the first damn place! Are they all mad? Seriously, can someone explain this idiocy to me?”

    Yes I can explain it. They do not have the power to do so. If they did, I have no doubt they would.

  25. SE
    I’m currently guzzling some excellent Spanish at a €uro the bottle. Lidl. Grabbed 4 cases before it all went.
    The cheapest vodka on their shelves was 3€50 the bottle. Hardly Stolochnya but OK in mixed drinks.
    Curiously, the only people I come across pissed outa their brains come from some rainy little island up north somewhere. The ones with the Tartan underpants are usually the most incoherent but that may not be purely the drink.
    The longer I’m here the more barking mad my, hopefully soon to be forgotten, homeland looks at a distance. You will actually put up with this shit won’t you? End up, the only way you can afford to drink is to go abroad. I used to see the Swedes doing the same in Copenhagen years ago, over on the ferry. Never thought you’d all be stupid & craven enough to let it happen to you.

  26. What – the Helsingors / Helsingbors crossing? Got on that – “are you here for the 7 course banquet?” On a 20 minute ferry trip? WTF? We had, of course, boarded on the Swedish side.

    While I object to the “stupid and craven” label, on a personal basis, I find it difficult to disagree with it being attached to the lumpen-electorate.

  27. Out driving this afternoon I heard a bit of that ghastly Radio 2 afternoon talk show.

    I think one of the anti-booze lobby was introduced as the spokesman of the Scottish Health Network of Alcohol Professionals.

    Which would make then Shnaps.

  28. SE (#28) – Carrefour’s discount label. In proper bottles; the plastic drums are difficult to pour from.

  29. “A “unit” is 10ml of ethanol.”

    Sorry, partly because of the tiny box for comments, and partly from habit, I tend to collapse things. The “notional” had to do with the maximum number of units per day (which a member of the group that devised it admitted was made up, for lack of reliable statistics). There was probably a better word than “notional”.

    “The alcohol excise system is Bloody Stupid, taxing the same quantity of ethanol at wildly different rates”

    Historically there were different reasons, but today (apart from balancing tax take with political pain) much of it is health-related, concerned with concentration. For instance: “Alcoholic drinks in Britain could be watered down under controversial Government plans to deal with binge drinking, a health minister said yesterday.
    Anne Milton made clear that the Coalition wanted to see a ‘significant’ reduction in the number of units in beer, wines and spirits across the drinks market.
    She warned that the Government was ‘deadly serious’ about slashing the numbers of deaths in Britain caused by alcohol.”

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2098034/Water-beer-tackle-binge-drinking-alcohol-industry-told.html

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