Tuesday, 13 November 2007

The Health Alcohol Alliance wants to see a rise in alcohol tax.

Beer Prayer Click to Enlarge
I'm a Conservative, but on some aspects of life, usually to to with adults making their own decisions, I'm a bit of a Libertarian. When I read today that the Health Alcohol Alliance wants to see a rise in alcohol tax, my blood started to simmer. They are proposing a whole raft of policies that are not about adults making choices, but are all about forcing adults to behave as they see fit. They are using shock statistics like: 13 children are admitted to hospital every day as a result of Britain's growing alcohol misuse, and: the number of alcohol-related deaths has more than doubled from 4,144 in 1991 to 8,386 in 2005.

While those figures are indeed shocking, I don't see increasing tax and reducing the easy availability of alcohol as the correct solution. Restricting alcohol to adults disgusts me to be quite honest and it smacks of more interference from the nanny state. Raising tax will make not one blind bit of difference, I've been a bit of a drinker in the past and I can guarantee that raising the price of a pint of beer by 10% will have absolutely zero effect. Do they honestly believe that raising the cost of a pint from £2.50 to £2.75 will cut all alcohol-related deaths by between 10% and 30%? A 10% increase in tax will mean that it will cost you £27.50 to get a skin full instead of £25. Big wow. They are obviously living in cloud cuckoo land.

If the government want to make a difference they should get even tougher on anyone that sells alcohol to the under 18's. This should be combined with education and increasing the support for those that have been identified as having a clinical condition. The vast majority of people in this country drink sociably, but rather than tackle the problem where it exists, we see those who think they know better taking the easy option by trying to tax the rest of us into submission.

If kids are drinking too much, then the law is not being implemented correctly. If the number of drink related deaths are increasing, then those people are not getting the support they need. It is these problems that need to be sorted out. So until you do that - please leave the rest of us alone.

Please click on the picture to read the Beer Prayer.

6 comments:

Ordovicius said...

Alcohol is cheaper than chips in Spain, and yet I don't recall seeing Spaniards dropping like flies as a result (tourists maybe). Without engaging in any research, I'd imagine that part of what drives people into alcohol related illness is actually the high cost of living, not easy access to alcohol. Alcohol is already expensive here, which is why alcoholics opt for staying in (or warming up) with a few bottles of White Shite (or whatever that vodka coloured cider's called). I doubt THAT perilous product will be priced out of anyone's range.

Jonathan Purle said...

Most of these organisations in this evil 'Alliance' actually receive funding from the taxpayer. Madness. Alcohol is the classic inelastic product - the reality of putting up the tax on alcohol is that (a) people trade down to the cheaper stuff; or (b) they drink blackmarket imports; or (c) they carry on as before - with harder-up families cutting back on items like food etc. Like all taxes, it will just take money from ordinary people and give it to the State - just to benefit health fascists and lazy public sector types.

female political and social comment said...

has anyone else worked out who has funded the nuffield council report into alcohol consumption in the UK? if you want to read my piece it's on
femalepoliticalandsocialcomment.blogspot.com
do you think this is ok?
personally i think:
devious, underhand, sly, scottish cultural arrogance.
comments please

Robin said...

Fp&SC,

Tried to post a comment but I need to sign in or something and it`s cutting into my drinking time.

Nic said...

This "alliance" sounds awful, but I want to take a look at it for myself - anyone know where I can find it on the web?

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