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Minimum Pricing on alcohol

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The Scottish Government wants to set a minimum price of 45 pence per unit of alcohol

I agree with minimum pricing and think that 45 pence per unit is about right
3
23%
I agree with minimum pricing but think 45 pence per unit is too low
1
8%
I agree with minimum pricing but think 45 pence per unit is too high
0
No votes
I disagree with minimum pricing, but agree with alternatives such as increasing duty on alcohol
2
15%
I disagree with minimum pricing and believe that government has no business interfering with individual choice in this way
5
38%
None of the above, I will explain why in my post
2
15%
 
Total votes: 13

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Alan H
Posts: 24046
Joined: July 3rd, 2007, 10:26 pm

Re: Minimum Pricing on alcohol

#21 Post by Alan H » September 15th, 2010, 11:08 am

Latest post of the previous page:

I have some sympathy with your view, TTD, (although not about denying them health services) but the bigger problem is the effects on others, including domestic violence and the amount of police resources it ties up.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

Marian
Posts: 3985
Joined: August 23rd, 2009, 2:25 pm

Re: Minimum Pricing on alcohol

#22 Post by Marian » September 15th, 2010, 2:25 pm

tubataxidriver wrote: If people can't self-moderate their behaviours then it is their problem.
This brings up a debate that's been raging for a very long time and that is whether alcohol or drug addictions actually are addictions or if taking the stuff is merely choice. I think it depends on factors such as how long the drug has been taken over time, whether someone is more prone to develop compulsions. I haven't quite made up my mind about it except that I tend to go with those Dr's whose opinions are based on more verified changes to the brain of drug addicts.
Transformative fire...

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jaywhat
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Joined: July 5th, 2007, 5:53 pm

Re: Minimum Pricing on alcohol

#23 Post by jaywhat » September 15th, 2010, 4:37 pm

What about a list one could produce of people not entitled to health treatment - or rescue, for that matter.
Drivers injured through drink driving or breaking the speed limit, anyone injured in a fight they started, anyone injured while committing a burglary - I could obviously, go on. Ill-equipped climbers or people who tripped over because they were wearing shoes they had stolen .............

What a surreal story that would make :smile:

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Lifelinking
Posts: 3248
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 11:56 am

Re: Minimum Pricing on alcohol

#24 Post by Lifelinking » September 15th, 2010, 6:06 pm

I take a libertarian Darwinist view. If people want to kill themselves, fine. Let's provide a bit more education on the risks, and then remove the free liver transplants, plastic surgery and other support we give to self-inflicted injury and heath effects. If people can't self-moderate their behaviours then it is their problem.[p
I probably disagree with this statement more profoundly than with anything else in this thread. But thanks for contributing anyway Tubataxidriver :thumbsup:
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
William McIlvanney

Nick
Posts: 11027
Joined: July 4th, 2007, 10:10 am

Re: Minimum Pricing on alcohol

#25 Post by Nick » September 15th, 2010, 6:39 pm

Various thoughts:

What would be the effect of minimum pricing? This will of course vary from one individual to another. For a rich drinker it might not affect his consumption (but why is he drinkning cheap booze?). For an addict, likewise. But for the average person, it will reduce their consumption. In totality the amont of cheap booze consumed will fall.

Consumption of alcohol has, surprisingly, been decreasing significantly in recent years. I think people are more health conscious than previously, and the pub is no longer the only social outlet. Drink driving laws and cable TV have also had their effect. It is possible, though, that more people (particularly the young,) are drinking more heavily, and in more concentrated bursts, while the rest of the population are drinking much less, leading to greater drink-related problems within specific groups.

If we start regulating prices, there are significant issues wth competition policy. These may be overcome, but it is something of a head-ache to implement (and Brussels will probably stick its oar in too). There are even greater implications with hypothecating the revenues raised to drink awareness campaigns and treatments. You will find a stonewall from the Treasury on that one, with good reason. If money is worth spending, then it doesn't matter where it comes from. If tax can be raised, while reducing a social ill, then why restrict the areas in which it can be spent for the benefit of society?

As for alternatives, I am not too concerned about extra medical side-effects of DIY. I would have thought that the prospects of wide-scale distilling of spirits is very low. (Smuggling is more likely). It may boost home-brewing, cider and wine making, but such forethought and purpose does not generally coincide with the instant gratification of the binge drinker.

If the price of a unit of alcohol goes up, so will its price in supermarkets. Yes it is true that booze may be sold as a loss leader, but it is still be fundamentally linked to the cost to the retailer. In many ways, the supermarkets would not be that bothered if they had to charge more, so long as their competitors were also obliged to do so. The bulk of their profits does not come from winos and drunks. Loss leaders are used to attract spenders into their shops, to purchase their weekly provisions, in preference to a competitor's. It is just that people may be more price-sensitive to drink than to, say, potatoes or minced beef. They will find another way to try to attract customers. Their unit sales of cheap alcohol may decrease, but their profit margins on it would increase. If this is the case, then the nation would have achieved 2 things. A presumed decrease in alcohol consumption and an increase in corporation tax from the increase in profits on the booze sold. I don't think we should enforce an extra tax on the retailers. If you did that, then how about extra tax on any other 'unhealthy' products? Much better to tax the units of alcohol before it reaches the supermarket.

To my mind, we should address the reasons why people seek to loose themselves in booze. I have heard that UK kids are amongst the unhappiest and most pressurised in Europe. Booze is a symptom of that problem, rather than its cause. It would also help if it became 'uncool' to be plastered. A huge task, I know, but we must give young people a stake in life, and hope for their future. For too many there is none.

I voted for the forth option, but nevertheless am encouraged, for life in general, that the more libertarian fifth option has received significant (if more silent) support.

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Dave B
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Re: Minimum Pricing on alcohol

#26 Post by Dave B » September 15th, 2010, 7:55 pm

Lifelinking wrote:
I take a libertarian Darwinist view. If people want to kill themselves, fine. Let's provide a bit more education on the risks, and then remove the free liver transplants, plastic surgery and other support we give to self-inflicted injury and heath effects. If people can't self-moderate their behaviours then it is their problem.[p
I probably disagree with this statement more profoundly than with anything else in this thread. But thanks for contributing anyway Tubataxidriver :thumbsup:
I have no argument about people wanting to damage or kill themselves in any way they see fit - but I would deny them the ability to affect any other person in a bad way in doing so. That ranges from hurting the emotions of their friends and family to abusing kids and killing strangers.
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Lifelinking
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Re: Minimum Pricing on alcohol

#27 Post by Lifelinking » September 15th, 2010, 8:26 pm

Thank you Nick and Dave B :thumbsup:
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
William McIlvanney

Fia
Posts: 5480
Joined: July 6th, 2007, 8:29 pm

Re: Minimum Pricing on alcohol

#28 Post by Fia » September 15th, 2010, 9:19 pm

Nick wrote:If you did that, then how about extra tax on any other 'unhealthy' products?
Well if I ruled the world then that would be a jolly good source of income - 2 birds with 1 stone :D

I also think we need to be clearer. The Scottish Executive is not suggesting that the tax on alcohol be raised (which I think is a Westminster issue, but as we voted yes/yes for devolution and tax powers i may be wrong..) but that there should be a minimum price per unit of alcohol.

I think, having read LL's links, that there are good grounds for this. We are slightly miring ourselves in what happens to the profits from such a law. In itself it only makes more profit for the drug producers alcohol manufacturers. It seems from some responses in this thread that a minimum price doesn't quite cut it. In addition reparation to society needs to be made. To me, that's not the wholly the responsibility of the individual who has been taken in by the glossy marketing in an uncomfortable cahoots with our disaffected, but also that of the alcohol industry. Imagine if we were trying to legalise alcohol....
Nick wrote:To my mind, we should address the reasons why people seek to loose themselves in booze.
Quite. In the meantime I am convinced that having a minimum price combined with a way to plough that profit into direct support, as Dave B pointed out earlier, is a jolly good place to start :D

edited to add that I've just noticed this Just the sort of research such profits could be ploughed into...

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Lifelinking
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Re: Minimum Pricing on alcohol

#29 Post by Lifelinking » September 19th, 2010, 6:36 pm

I had contacted my MSP Jackie Baillie who is also Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing several times about this issue and had just about given up hope of hearing back from her. She has replied to me now, acknowledging my contact and promising a more 'substantive' reply. Blogged about it here.
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
William McIlvanney

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Lifelinking
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Re: Minimum Pricing on alcohol

#30 Post by Lifelinking » September 22nd, 2010, 10:39 pm

Today the Health Committee passed a Tory amendment removing minimum pricing. I am not best chuffed.
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
William McIlvanney

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getreal
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Joined: November 20th, 2008, 5:40 pm

Re: Minimum Pricing on alcohol

#31 Post by getreal » September 22nd, 2010, 11:19 pm

Very dissapointing, LL. Alcohol is the curse of Scotland. You only have to sit (let alone work) in a Glasgow casualty unit on a saturday night to see that.
What really really annoys me is that some of the solutions are well known, but politicians refuse to take the bull by the horns and implement the policies that are known to reduce this dreadful drug's effect. Raising the price is one. Providing young people with meaningful and affordable activities is another.
We have an appalling attitude to alcohol here. One of my lecturers at uni was from the US, and she told the story of her first few weeks in Scotland. Every sunday, when she left her glasgow flat to get the Sunday papers she notices little puddles of vomit dotted around the streets. She assumed that there must be some stomach bug on the loose. Whe she eventually found out that it was the contents of the boozed up Glaswegians stomachs the previous night, she was astonished. I have also lost count of the number of friends from outwith the UK who have claimed that they had never seen anyone drunk on the streets till they came to Scotland (my son in law has told me that he actually didn't know that adult females could fight with each other till he was working as a bouncer in Greece and witnessed drunken UK females --always UK, he says--belting lumps out each other.)

Makes me ashamed to actually admit I'm Scottish.


Like your new avatar LL!
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

Nick
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Re: Minimum Pricing on alcohol

#32 Post by Nick » September 23rd, 2010, 12:24 am

Taking nothing away from your blog, Lifey, which deserves a serious response, mention of Donald Dewar reminds me of what he said in the Commons while advocating a Scottish Parliament and a 'yes' vote in the referendum, when he said (something like) "In view of my name, I'm tempted to suggest a slogan like... "Yes,Yes! Make mine a double!"

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Lifelinking
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Re: Minimum Pricing on alcohol

#33 Post by Lifelinking » September 23rd, 2010, 9:26 am

Yeah. Dewar was notoriously fond of a curry, but actually not a big drinker. I hazard a guess that he would have got himself much more informed on this subject than present day Scottish Labour politicians have however. But then again, in comparison he was a political heavyweight. Here is an article from the Telegraph in August that I missed at the time, which sums things up pretty well I think http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/colu ... drink.html.
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
William McIlvanney

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getreal
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Re: Minimum Pricing on alcohol

#34 Post by getreal » September 23rd, 2010, 4:39 pm

I really don't understand why there is so much (political) opposition to this. Surely not every politician is afraid of pissing off the Portman Group?
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Lifelinking
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Re: Minimum Pricing on alcohol

#35 Post by Lifelinking » September 23rd, 2010, 6:34 pm

For some I really think it is as simple and as pathetic as, 'if the SNP are proposing this - we cannot be seen to support it'.
"Who thinks the law has anything to do with justice? It's what we have because we can't have justice."
William McIlvanney

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