Minimum Price on Alcohol

I heard this on the radio this morning and had to share it.  Original articles are quoted below (please read first).

So, once again, our brilliant police’s and government’s solution to a problem is: to punish EVERYONE for the actions of a criminal minority.

Forget the rights of supermarkets to charge whatever they want; forget the rights of innocent civilians to purchase whatever price they deem acceptable.

I love this line: The immediate effect of below-cost alcohol is to tempt people to buy a lot more alcohol than would otherwise be the case.  Classic!  So, the only thing stopping 99.9% of the population getting smashed and getting into a fight is a few quid here or there for a crate down the supermarket.

Check out another example of betraying your principles in one sentence: “As a rule, I don’t believe governments should set prices”, great news, oh, hang on, what’s that: “but when retailers are deliberately distorting the market we need to take action.”  What kind of a rule is it that can be violated whenever you feel like it?  I’ll try that in court: “As I rule I don’t believe in violence, but I was waiting in that queue for ages and had to take action!”  This is typical of society’s morality today: principles that can be dispensed of when the going gets tough.  But a moral principle can NEVER be dispensed with, by definition!

What Nick Clegg forgets is that NO free market price can distort the market, because if a shop sells at a loss, it eventually goes under, just as if a shop sells too high it gets undercut by its competitors.  The consumer chooses the best price he can, and it’s down to the expertise of ASDA, Tesco, etc to win over customers by offering deals on product it buys in bulk.

“Alcohol related violence, disorder and illness is now one of the biggest problems we face”

Well DEAL with the criminals who break the law then, and let the people who drink themselves into an early grave continue to do so: why should the rest of us pay?

“If supermarkets are not prepared to act responsibly it is time they are forced to do so.”

I’m sorry!  Do supermarkets have a responsibility to ensure people don’t misbehave?!  Since when were the actions of criminals the moral responsibility of anyone else, let alone supermarkets?  (Never, since moral responsibility for another person is a contradiction in terms.)

To illustrate just how stupid this statement is, imagine the government calling for a minimum price on kitchen knives!  “If people can buy kitchen knives for much cheaper than they normally could, they would be buying far more and be tempted to stab people!”  Or, “There must be a minimum price of fast food, because if people could buy fast food for even cheaper than normal, everyone would go and eat MacDonalds all day and have heart attacks and die!”

Oh actually, that last one isn’t made up: in America fast food chains are fined if they’re deemed “too unhealthy” and told what they can and can’t sell.  Apparently the US government sees a population of mindless Augustus Gloops that will get stuck in Willy Wonka’s chocolate pipe (please no jokes).

Anyone remember when people were responsible for THEIR own actions, and we were allowed to think for ourselves?

 

Articles below:

http://www.libdems.org.uk/home/nick-clegg-calls-for-a-minimum-price-on-alcohol-10825199;show

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg today called for the introduction of a minimum price for alcohol, to stop shops selling alcohol at a loss.

Many supermarkets are selling alcohol such as spirits at such low prices – as ‘loss leaders’ – that the retail price does not even cover the cost of Duty and VAT (see attached document).

Nick Clegg revealed the proposal today in a speech at the Sheffield Alcohol Conference. It forms part of a paper on alcohol and licensing that the party’s Shadow Culture, Media and Sport Secretary, Don Foster, will publish in October.

Nick Clegg said:

“It is unacceptable for retailers, especially big supermarkets, to run a coach and horses through alcohol duties in order to sell alcohol well below its cost.

“The immediate effect of below-cost alcohol is to tempt people to buy a lot more alcohol than would otherwise be the case.

“As a rule, I don’t believe governments should set prices, but when retailers are deliberately distorting the market we need to take action.

“That is why we should now look to the example of Ontario in Canada, where a socially responsible minimum price for alcohol has been successfully implemented.

“Alcohol related violence, disorder and illness is now one of the biggest problems we face. If supermarkets are not prepared to act responsibly it is time they are forced to do so.”

 

AND AGAIN:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/7718950.stm

Pub happy hours should be banned and supermarkets stopped from selling alcohol at a loss in order to combat drink-fuelled disorder, MPs have said.

The Home Affairs select committee said reckless drinking was placing a heavy burden on police resources.

One possible solution for England and Wales, MPs said, would be legislation setting a minimum price on alcohol.

Their call comes in a report on challenges facing police forces in the 21st Century.

Scotland’s new licensing laws include powers to fix alcohol prices to stop cut-price promotions and happy hours, and ministers in Edinburgh say they might seek to set minimum prices for drink.

Ministers said they would “look carefully” at the report’s recommendations.

Police challenges

The report also said police faced a host of pressures, including public expectations over minor crime, rapid population change, and the number of murder suspects released on bail.

But it added that evidence showed the biggest problem faced by police forces was violence and disorder caused by excessive drinking of cheap alcohol.

It said one force had reported that its shift patterns were dictated by the need to have enough officers available to deal with the fall-out of weekend bouts of drunken disorder.

Drink-fuelled crime meant that many forces could not meet the public’s expectations of high-profile visible policing at other times, despite currently having record numbers in uniform, the report said.

Men fighting outside a Newcastle Upon Tyne pub

Violence: 45% of victims say their attacker had been drinking

Increased police powers to tackle drunkenness were not working and powers to review or revoke premises’ alcohol licences were not being fully used, it said.

Almost half of all violent crime victims report that their attacker was under the influence of alcohol, according to official figures.

Other official figures on the cost of goods over time show alcohol has become much more affordable in the last three decades.

‘Unhappy communities’

Keith Vaz, chairman of the committee, said retailers must end a “pile it high, sell it cheap” culture around drink.

He accused supermarkets of flouting the spirit of a voluntary code on alcohol sales.

“We cannot have, on one hand, a world of alcohol promotions for profit that fuels surges of crime and disorder and, on the other, the police diverting all their resources to cope with it,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“At the moment you have a situation where so much of police time is taken up dealing with alcohol related crime.

“Happy hours lead to unhappy communities. Loss leaders in supermarkets cause real misery to city centres on a Saturday night.”

 

This report is right to highlight how mistaken the government has been to try to run policing through Whitehall targets, which have proved an expensive disaster

 

Chris Huhne, Lib Dem MP

 

Richard Dodd, from the British Retail Consortium, told BBC Breakfast that supermarkets were being unfairly demonised.

“Supermarkets believe in responsible drinking, too, and they do an enormous amount to achieve that, in terms of know-your-limits unit labelling and preventing underage purchases of alcohol, but there’s an awful lot of nonsense talked about this idea of below-cost selling.

“Because, if you just stop and think about it for a minute, no business could survive – let alone thrive – if it was routinely selling large amounts of product at less than it was actually paying for it.”

HAVE YOUR SAY

Do not penalise everyone who enjoys a sensible drink just because the sentencing for drunken louts is pathetic and there is no deterrent

Phil, North Wales

Send us your comments

But Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said the sale of cheap alcohol in supermarkets was a real problem.

“By the time [young people have] gone out, they’re completely drunk, they’re much more at risk of having an accident, of being a victim of a crime and that’s causing around £7bn worth of cost to the police.”

The report said MPs remained sceptical about whether recently introduced Alcohol Disorder Zones could work.

These force pubs and clubs to contribute towards the costs of policing drink-related crime.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We know the police and the public remain concerned about alcohol-related disorder.

“We have given the police, licensing authorities and trading standards officers a range of tough powers to tackle alcohol-related disorder, including on-the-spot fines, confiscating alcohol in public places and closing down premises that flout the law.

“Alongside this, the Department of Health has commissioned an independent review on the effects of alcohol price, promotion, consumption and harm which will be published shortly.”

‘Expensive disaster’

Shadow home secretary Dominic Grieve said: “[The report] is a shocking indictment of Labour’s reckless approach to extended licensing and the top-down target-driven approach, which has resulted in perverse outcomes.”

He said the Conservatives would reverse Labour’s approach to 24-hour drinking, replacing it with “appropriate application at local discretion”.

“We would ensure that laws passed to deal with alcohol-fuelled disorder are actually enforced – and take robust action to prevent loss-leader sales targeted at the young.”

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman Chris Huhne said: “This report is right to highlight how mistaken the government has been to try to run policing through Whitehall targets, which have proved an expensive disaster.”

Paul McKeever of the Police Federation of England and Wales said the report recognised many challenges posed for police by “binding red tape and targets”.

He said he hoped the Home Office would use it as a wider base for review and reform than recently attempted in the Policing Green Paper.

Advertisements

3 Responses to “Minimum Price on Alcohol”

  1. 1minionsopinion Says:

    As far as I know, Canada has always had the Government dictate the price of alcohol. You can’t buy it in supermarkets or convenience stores either – only at the Liquor Board stores run by each province, or off sales at most bars after hours if you want to pick up a bottle or case for home.

    Doesn’t stop people from binging, unfortunately.

    I know there had been fuss about some bars setting drink prices too low, though. It looks like there was a bar in Halifax, Nova Scotia last year that sold drinks a for dollar a piece but was forced to quit doing that after a serious brawl. 38 people were arrested.

  2. Rory Says:

    Good post. This fool was at our campus the other week, blathering about things, giving no definitive statements except what the public wanted.

  3. tobe38 Says:

    The really depressing thing, is that Richard Dodd of the British Retail Consortium began his defence by virtually apologising!

    Supermarkets believe in responsible drinking, too, and they do an enormous amount to achieve that, in terms of know-your-limits unit labelling and preventing underage purchases of alcohol…

    He should have made the same points that Evanescent made, i.e. the supermarkets can charge whatever prices they want, the public can buy whatever products they want, and every man is responsible for his own actions.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: