Well, no, not really

If implemented, the Prime Minister’s proposal for a 45p minimum price per unit will have the “biggest impact” on those who drink at home, according to academics.

It will end supermarket offers – such as three bottles of wine for £10, or multi-buy deals on crates of beer – that are very popular with middle-class drinkers, they say.

However, according to the researchers, who have modelled the likely effects on consumption and health, a 45p minimum unit price will save 10,000 lives over a decade.

It won\’t do either: not for any length of time.

Because it will be declared illegal under European law.

27 thoughts on “Well, no, not really”

  1. It’s strange that two of Cameron’s current whimsies, this and corporate taxation, are illegal under EU law, yet he personally remains committed to the EU.

    I suppose, on reflection, that this attitude is the very definition of a politician.

  2. It’s not any different to all those bitching about so-called company tax avoidance due to the single market, while never once mentioning the single market.

    Cameron manages that one too.

  3. I love it when the biter gets bitten. It’s almost as good as “British jobs for British workers!”.

  4. From a man who allegedly used to get hammered and trash restaurants as a student……

    First they make life so shit we all need to drink heavily, then they tell us not to drink.

  5. Johnb : “Hmm. Can prisoners vote yet?”

    And more importantly has the Home Office enforced the ‘stop collecting DNA from people who’ve not been charged’ edict?

  6. well, were this in any way enforceable across the board I would predict a rise in home brewing and wine-making. Home made wine is universally awful. But you can home make some decent beers with a bit of practice.

    but something tells my that my local cornership will continue to have outrageously cheap deals on wines and beers of dubious provenance to satisfy people who need a drink.

    Oh, and I’m also fairly sure there’s a correlation* between higher alcohol prices and alcoholism. Cf Norway, Finland and Sweden vs Spain, France and Italy.

    *correlation only; I don’t claim causation. It may well be something cultural about northern europeans. But what we can probably say is that high alcohol prices don’t necessarily stop alcoholism.

  7. Drunks in the gutter will spend their last cash on White Lightening. Cameron is a fucking joke, just not a funny one. It will be good to see him slapped down. But–if he does get this tripe on the books— then it proves the whole EU caper is just a scam and just an excuse for the UK scum of the state.

  8. White Lightning is no longer available (a friend tells me).

    The government could increase cider duty to levels comparable with beer and wine. But that would be bad for importers of concentrate from Eastern Europe. Er, I mean West Country apple growers.

  9. PaulB (#13)

    Re: White Lightning – I think it bit the dust back about 3 years ago when the parent company decided to delist it due to its image and a desire to ‘promote responsible drinking’

    Another Classic from my younger Years, K Cider has also disappeared. I believe of those high strength industrial brands, only Diamond White remains on the shelves (although for how long is another matter!)

  10. It does seem odd the EU hasn’t yet put its shovel into alcohol taxes under the pretence of standardising them.

    Here, Wobblyman has raised tax on beer (who said it was only capitalists that water the workers’ beer?) but not on wine. Given that France is divided into a beer culture (N) and wine culture (S) I was expecting howls of protest. But no, barely a cheep.

  11. It’s almost as good as “British jobs for British workers!”

    That one gave those of us in the oil business a chuckle. Firstly, the fact that the “desperate” foreigners the British press were referring to, seemingly willing to work under any conditions for paltry wages, were…Italians, and working for a pretty well-known maintenance contractor. Secondly, the accommodation barge which the press called a floating prison, wailing about appalling conditions which no reasonable Brit could expect to endure, was yer standard accommodation in the offshore oil and gas business.

  12. Tim, given that the UK Govt has been lobbying the EU in favour of price controls on tobacco and alcohol, I wouldn’t hold out much hope for the EU deciding that minimum alcohol pricing is illegal.

    I believe the test is whether such a restriction would be proportionate given the health benefits (those alleged, anyway) the policy would provide.

    …this could be one of Cameron’s re-negotiations come 2015. Let us have min pricing or we will leave the EU and have min pricing anyway.

  13. I wasn’t expecting much from Cameron, but my disappointment in him and his government is immense. In terms of the rubbish spewing from them they really are indistinguishable from the last bunch of wankers, so why bother voting for them in 2015? I won’t be.

  14. Rob +1

    The biggest political mistake of my lifetime was going into coalition. All so Cameron could call himself PM.

  15. Funny really. Coalition at a local level is seen as common. Its rare here (but not all places) at national level.

    I work with a load of alcoholics. If the price of drink doubled they would not drink less. Might eat less, might steal/sell body/mug/rob/whatever more but the chances of them reducing drinking simply on price is pretty much non-existant.
    These are people on 50 – 100 units a week of alcohol.

  16. PB – well spotted. If booze were taxed based on litres-of-alcohol, then all of this crap would go away. White cider (WL is no longer produced, because Heineken are a serious drinks company like Diageo and stake their long-term survival on boozing being respectable and expensive) is a thing because of silly tax breaks; so is Buckfast.

    MD – they’re fairly crap alcoholics if they’re on 50 a week. That’s a country squire/bored housewife/student level of beverage consumption – under a bottle of vino a day.

  17. Martin Davies is quite right. What’s more, the middle class who are a large proportion of those who drink at home will be utterly unaffected by the imposition of a minimum price. The wine that is offered at ” three bottles of wine for £10,” isn’t worth drinking: the wine I use for cooking costs more than 45p per unit.

  18. john77: A while ago I stocked up on cooking wine at 3 for £10. And it turned out to be a bit too good for cooking with, at least by my modest standards (Yellowtail shiraz i think it was).

  19. John77 is being a bit snobbish here. A typical Aussie red has about 11 units, so 45p/unit = gbp4.95.

    While I’d normally want to pay a bit more than that for wine to drink on its own, under a fiver a bottle is completely completely acceptable for cooking, sangria/tinto de verano, and final-bottle-of-the-night duties.

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