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Kohl-eyed Burnham outlines the war on booze

Cost of cheap alcohol will double to curb binge drinking - Telegraph

The crackdown will mark the culmination of a scheme, overseen by Andy Burnham, the Health Secretary, to cut alcohol abuse. Tackling the problem will be a major plank of the party’s manifesto.Speaking to The Daily Telegraph last night, Mr Burnham said that he wanted public backing for the radical scheme.
He compared the emerging alcohol policy to that involving tobacco – which led to a sharp increase in cigarette prices and a ban on smoking in public places.
“There is rising public concern and we have never shrunk from taking tough public health decisions and we are not going to start now,” he said. “We need to balance the rights of people who drink responsibly with those who buy ludicrously cheap booze and go out and harm themselves and others.
“The mood has changed and there is rising public concern – we need to respond to that and move on the debate…There is no shortage of research that shows the link with price and people drinking harmful levels of alcohol – there is no debate about that.”
However, the Health Secretary stressed that he didn’t want to “punish the majority of people who drink responsibly”. “In difficult times, when people are feeling the pinch, one of the ways they can relieve the pressure is by having a drink and we wouldn’t want to stop them enjoying that,” he said.

It is understood that ministers are working on a “staged process” to introduce minimum pricing. Initially, the drinks industry will have to increase warnings on alcohol cans and bottles. Supermarkets and other retailers will then be banned from selling alcohol at “below cost” – the wholesale price of drinks – if they refuse to do so voluntarily.
The minimum price will then be introduced as the third and final phase of the scheme. It is being introduced in this way to “bring the public along” as alcohol prices are steadily increased.
A levy could also be imposed on the drinks industry to stop them making windfall profits from the higher prices introduced under the scheme. The money raised would be earmarked for public health campaigns warning of the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption.

All spelled out, don't say you haven't been warned.

Comments

"We need to balance the rights of people who drink responsibly with those who buy ludicrously cheap booze and go out and harm themselves and others."

Yes, and you can do that by prosecuting those who harm others, and leaving everyone else alone.

I believe the word "bastards" is superfluous here.
For the Government, the major problem with low alcohol prices is low tax revenue.

"A levy could also be imposed on the drinks industry to stop them making windfall profits from the higher prices introduced under the scheme."

Translation: "We'll make you charge your customers more so we get more in duty, and we'll also tax the additional profit that you would make from our enforced higher prices."

Mr. Burnham just has a heart for illegal cottage industries --- after all, commercial life is so over-regulated now that the only affordable small business opportunities left for most folk is dealing dope and (soon) cheap home brewed booze (with all the dangers that can bring as people mix in extra 'stuff').

Can you imagine the UK being sober for (say) a week? OMG. I once spent a week as a child on a beach in Bulgaria where the beer, the schnapps and the wine has run out(communists lol), and the foul mood amongst the adults(of all nations) was extra-epic, and that was in the 70's when people were much better behaved.

Lordy knows what would happen here, but if they all sober up enough to realise just how they were ripped off and by whom, and they didn't get enough booze in time to forget their anger and purpose... oh dear oh dear oh dear... I'd recommend the ministers keep the booze flowing, might get somewhat grim otherwise and not only oop north.)

the Health Secretary stressed that he didn’t want to “punish the majority of people who drink responsibly”

Then we can only conclude that the Health Secretary is either a complete moron or a lying shite. How can a blanket "solution"* be anything but punishment for the majority**?

As Ian points out, the only way to achieve the desired end is to make the irresponsible minority aware of the consequences of their irresponsibility. Sadly such an approach would require ministers and apparatchiks to do something hence this draconian approach and the attached mendacity.

* Well, it's not even a solution. Anyone with a modicum of sense will know, or can find out just how successful sledgehammer approaches to curbing excessive drinking have been - Prohibition, anyone? Or the one hour licencing laws enforced in Australia in the middle of the 20th Century? Or maybe the Norwegian Government's approach which attempts to price alcohol out of the reach of many?

Not one has worked and one could argue that all have created bigger problems in the long run. Prohibition gave the Mafia its leg up from the streets and inculcated a general contempt of the law not seen before the Volstead Act, limited opening hours led to binge drinking on a scale unseen even in Cardiff and a general contempt of the law. As for the Norgies, put one near a cheaper than usual booze and watch how he redefines the term binge drinking.

**Indeed, everyone except MP's with their subsidised workplace watering holes and tax-free 500 sov a month grocery allowances (which doubtless will be increased in line with any increase in the cost of booze).

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