No UK minimum alcohol price

March 17th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Telegraph reports:

Sources have confirmed that the Coalition will not attempt to implement the Prime Minister’s plan for a 45p per unit minimum price.

Is that all? Labour MPs here were talking $2 a stand drink minimum price!

Mr Cameron had argued that making drinks more expensive would curb problem drinking, while several ministers argued that the minimum price would only serve to penalise responsible drinkers. The minimum price was also opposed by the Treasury, where officials argued that it would reduce tax revenues at a time when the public finances remain strained.

One Treasury source described the Prime Minister’s plan as “a remarkably stupid idea”.

Government insiders suggested the Chancellor is considering using the Budget to impose higher taxes on some drinks and argue that doing so will address problem drinking.

There is an interesting debate about the merits of vs excise taxes. Our current excise tax regime is lopsided and not all is taxed at the same rate.

A spokesman for the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said: “Minimum unit pricing would penalise responsible drinkers and treat everyone who is looking for value in their shopping as a binge drinker.”

Yet it is Labour and Green party policy. Beware.

10 Responses to “No UK minimum alcohol price”

  1. peterwn (4,284 comments) says:

    The 1958 Black Budget raised beer duty much to the angst of the working classes, and in the years following governments were reluctant to raise duties on ‘the working man’s beer’ and AFAIK any duty increases needed a legislative amendment which would be done under urgency straight after the budget speech. just prior to GST, the sales tax on soft drinks was greater than beer duty.

    In UK the duty on whiskey is apparently set to produce the most revenue. If set higher, sales and revenue would fall. Hence Treasury’s concern. The same Treasury that apparently did a cost benefit study showing that it was uneconomic to discourage smoking – that played right into the hands of the ‘Yes Prime Minister’ script writers.

    The only possible reason I can think of for alcohol minimum pricing is to stop ‘loss leader’ specials in supermarkets. However ‘loss leaders’ would account for a small portion of sales. Minimum pricing would become a licence to make money in the industry. Raising duties would make more sense and I just cannot understand why Labour/ Greens do not take that approach, but then it might be because of concern about ‘the working man’s beer’.

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  2. kowtow (13,201 comments) says:

    Cameron is a prize idiot.

    Claims to be a Tory but has stupid ideas like this and so called same sex marriage.

    Worse than Blair ,if that was possible!

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  3. wat dabney (4,135 comments) says:

    Minimum price legislation is against EU law and therefore would have been overturned.

    The worthless Cameron knew this, yet for the past few months persisted in maintaining that they were going to implement such a law.

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  4. Scott1 (1,001 comments) says:

    I wonder if having a minimum price might lower the price of alcohol that is currently over $2 and thus benefit many drinkers or if it would increase the cost of that more expensive alcohol.

    I presume labour and the greens want both a minimum price and increased taxes on alcohol they are just dealing with the two issues separably.

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  5. Rodders (1,790 comments) says:

    Amusing moment in UK PMQ’s this week

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  6. flipper (5,297 comments) says:

    This is not unwelcome news.

    The idiot “cracademics” from DPF’s old school (principally Selwood), Canterbury, together with that silly life-long abolition bint, Caswell, at Massey, are the leading drivers if this silly labour/red melon intention. But they were basing their case on “Britain has done it, so we must follow”.

    Peterwn gives a pretty good analysis. But if anyone is looking for real loss leading wine prices they can find better deals in Australia wher good quality “clean skins” regularly go for the equivalent of $NZ4.99.

    This whole silly argument is abolition by stealth.

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  7. Longknives (6,399 comments) says:

    Perish the thought of a responsible drinker buying a moderately priced bottle of wine to have with dinner. Yet the Greens would happily have Cannabis available to our schoolchildren…(apparently it ‘enhances creativity in the brain’)

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  8. tvb (5,512 comments) says:

    Increasing the price of alcohol will not mpact much on moderate drinkers. Making wine say 25/bottle will curb moderate drinkers a little. We might even go back to the days when wine was dear and people quantly took a bottle as a special treat for the host. But the abusers will find it hard and a damn good thing. And stuff the treasury on revenue. It is not about the tax revenue.

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  9. Paulus (3,566 comments) says:

    I get good quality Cleanskins at Countdown for $6.99.
    The HB Cab Sav is really very good, not so the Sav Blanc, but I reserve that for visitors.
    Chardonnay – not enough oak for me.

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  10. kowtow (13,201 comments) says:

    Cameron is an idiot.
    His “progressive” policies and lack of action on real electorate issues has split the right and will allow Labour to win.

    The upside is the UKIP could become the true representatives of the British people.

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