Should there be a minimum price on booze?

16 November 2009

What's the best way to stop us all becoming raging alcoholics? Health warnings clearly aren't doing the trick because there's still a whole team of piss cans wobbling around Britain right now, asking you if you have any change for a fictional train or checking the phonebox swarth slot.

Up in Scotland (where they know a thing or two about drink problems), someone is suggesting that a minimum price for booze would have a "considerable" impact.

Dr Emilia Crighton, the convener of the Faculty of Public Health in Scotland, spoke after delegates at its conference voted in favour of minimum pricing. As such, the Scottish government is pushing for plans to introduce a minimum price for alcohol.

Dr Crighton reckons: "Research suggests that 866 alcohol-related deaths each year would be prevented by the introduction of a 60p minimum price once the policy is in full effect. There is an overwhelming case that cheap drink damages Scotland's health record. As prices have dropped, consumption has risen."

Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon welcomed the support for minimum pricing from "those at the sharp end protecting public health". She added: "Critics claim minimum pricing would raise the price of all drinks and punish moderate drinkers. But that just doesn't stack up.

"Almost all drinks in the pub are already sold well above any likely minimum price, so they wouldn't be affected. And if the level of the minimum price was about 40p per unit, the vast majority of supermarket wines, beers and whiskies would see no change in price.

"But the cheap white ciders and low-grade spirits favoured by problem drinkers would rise in price, to a cost that better reflects their high alcohol content. So it's a targeted way of making sure strong drink is sold at a sensible price."

As alcoholics are invariably more concerned about getting some drink in 'em, effectively, this new proposal will make booze hounds more broke... surely? That said, if the price of whiskey will remain unaffected, they might just have to change their tipple. What do you think?



  • Mark M.
    drinkiung durung the day hazzzn't afekted my job so i think itssss a load of carp. And another thing dhkkjhjfds nkasfn f;lklnfaknfa vvfv vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvv
  • Bett T.
    i think people should be made to clean up their vomitus and pay for the privilege...
  • barry
    I think the government should fuck off and let a free market economy run itself in setting prices instead of getting involved with everything. They have fucked up this country is it any wonder we are all turning to drink?
  • C
    886 lives a year mmm. Well worth pissing off millions then. Labour: fucking cretins.
  • Frogman
    Good to see such objective contributions to an important debate. No, I don't think a minimum price is the best solution but we do need to get people to understand how to treat alcohol responsibly. Some may think that 886 lives a year is a small price to pay but I have seen the damage that drink does to families and friends. As for blaming the current government, this country is sleepwalking into state of denial. By the way, the free market may have to apply to all those who drink, smoke, eat themselves into the NHS. Let's see how much drinkers would like to pay for each time they cause an accident or need a paramedic. In reality, all of us, including the drink manufacturers & pubs/clubs/supermarkets need to play a more responsible role in this.
  • Inactive
    It has nowt to do with the price of booze, it is a culture thing. Booze is far cheaper in mainland Europe but you don't see their High Streets getting wrecked every weekend.
  • Hilly
    Why should the majority of people who drink alcohol safely and recreationally be force to pay for other idiots and their mistakes?
  • Moderate D.
    Why should moderate drinkers be punished because of a minority who don't know when to stop? We pay more for most things in this bloody country than the rest of the world.
  • HorZa
    Setting a minimum price for alcohol won't make much of a difference. Certainly with the underage drinkers as they don't buy the cheap stuff anyway!!!
  • Howie
    In reply to 'C' - When did Nicola Sturgeon become a member of the Labour party?
  • Ekky
    I can see Scotlands number one toy this Christmas will be a home brew kit and the hobbyist illicit still producers will do a roaring trade.
  • donttouchthehair
    And I'm sure that shop lifting rates won't rise accordingly. . . .
  • me
    Think I did this a few years ago at A leve in economics, although I think we didnt care about how many people had died, more the cost for the NHS etc etc....
  • Gunn
    Probably a good enough idea, if the tax went to the NHS to pay for the liver killing kind. But will serious alcoholics resort to theft either from the shops directly or by burgling peoples cars/homes to fund it as happens with drug users.
  • Junkyard
    @me - sounds about right for an economist.
  • oliverreed
    Yes put the price up - because it's really helped with smoking..... Higher prices mean more tax for our unelected leader to rake in.
  • C
    @Howie It's a Labour commisioned study. They've been toying with the idea of a minimum price per unit of alcohol for some years now.
  • hipeeps
    Labour can get fooked with this idea
  • zeddy
    @Hilly: Have you seen the town/city ccentres at weekends? That's a hell of a lot of a minority.
  • Nick
    When did this site become a refuge for people not clever enough to get on the Daily Mail boards?

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