Minimum Alcohol Pricing. It's all for your own good...

picture from the BBC

You can’t say the Government doesn’t care. It looks after the rich by dropping the top rate of tax, and looks after the rest of us by making sure we can’t afford to drink enough to get wasted. Thanks guys.

Yesterday the Government announced a ten-week consultation into the idea of minimum unit pricing for alcohol- the same thing that is currently being challenged in the courts in Scotland. The idea is that a minimum price of 45p per unit will mean people will drink less and won’t be able to buy cans of lager for 20p.

The 45p charge is 5p per unit cheaper than the Scots are facing and would mean that a can of strong lager would cost at least £1.56 and a bottle of wine £4.22. Standard strength spirits would cost £16.44 per 75cl bottle. There should be no effect of pub prices, as half a pint, half a small (175ml) glass of wine and one 25ml shot all comprise one unit, and generally cost more than 45p anyway.

But would it work? Critics of the proposed Scottish system are doubtful of the predicted lives and hospital time that would be saved, but campaigners for such a charge are miffed at least 50p per unit isn’t under consideration. As with the Scottish charge, remember that this isn’t a tax, but a minimum charge, meaning the Government would not be benefitting financially from this (other than through increased VAT), rather than the supermarkets will be laughing all the way to the bank. Again.

A Home Office spokesman said that the plans were targeted at "harmful drinkers and irresponsible shops," adding that “those who enjoy a quiet drink or two have nothing to fear from our proposals." We reported last year that the average price of a bottle of wine in the UK was £4.55, above the minimum required charge, with £2.57 out of that amount already going in alcohol duty and VAT. Surely then the only people affected by these proposals are those willing to buy cans of ‘lager’ for 20p. And if you are that desperate for a drink, surely you deserve sympathy not punishment…

Andrew Opie, of the British Retail Consortium, told the BBC: "Most major retailers believe minimum pricing and controls on promotions are unfair to most customers. They simply penalise the vast majority, who are perfectly responsible drinkers, while doing nothing to reduce irresponsible drinking.

"The government should recognise the role of personal responsibility. It should not allow interfering in the market to regulate prices and promotions to become the default approach for public health policy."

Even assuming you do buy your alcohol with enough taste to already breach the minimum price, you might be concerned over the fact the consultation is also considering banning multi-buy deals on alcohol. These deals are favoured by some supermarkets and off-licences, and may even affect a well-known food hall’s dinner for £10 deal, given that it includes a bottle of wine.

Better start crying into your Tennants Super now…


  • Mike
    Don't spirits usually come in 700ml or a litre? Wine in 750ml?
  • Darren
    I don't buy cheap crap anyway, I usually pay £10 for a bottle of wine, and you can not get champagne cheap unless its nasty! so what difference does this really make?
  • daniel
    have brewed my own beer for about 5 years now and i can make it as strong as i want , at a fraction of the cost from any supermarket and mine tastes considerably nicer . do what you like government but watch crime rates increase drastically .
  • ziggy
    this will push price of all alcohol up, with cheap booze closer in price to better stuff they will simply raise prices as they will be able to get away with it, and lovely profit for all
  • Spencer
    as Daniel said.... brew your own. it's a lot easier than you may think. and works out much cheaper. plus you can brew with Turbo-yeasts and get an alcohol wash of around 25% - just using sugary water. then ferment or flavour... for those of you into their tramp strength beverages.
  • Spencer
    I would add though that you can brew some really tasty, normal strength cider and beers for about 50p a pint and perfectly drinkable wines at less than a pound a bottle.
  • Teetotal
    I'd imagine the biggest effect would be on bottles of spirits. A 70cl bottle wouldn't be able to be sold cheaper than £12.60. That pretty much wipes out the cheap vodka market as it's about the same price as the labelled stuff.
  • Mr M.
    Where can you actually get cans of lager for 20p? Yesterday I heard some Tory Twat on the wireless saying a can of lager costs 20p and a bottle of water costs 10 times that..
  • Chewbacca
    @Spencer How easy would it be, in your opinion, to brew a German weissbier in the style of, say, Weihenstephan?
  • catweazle
    A Home Office spokesman added that “those who enjoy a quiet drink or two have nothing to fear from our proposals.” How's that then, can you get some sort of exemption from this increase? The only ones with nothing to fear frequent the subsidized bars within the Houses of Parliament. Bastards.
  • Her L.
    I've been sucking on fermented potatoes for years and its done me no harm.
  • Spencer
    @ Chewie... If you wanted to use a kit - very straightforward. Buy a big can of 'syrup' mix. Add to a big drum of water. Add the yeast and spraymalt. Let it sit for a few weeks. The big can of syrup method is much easier and takes a lot of the guess-work out. But the results can be a bit hit & miss. Alternately make your own with malt, wheat and hops... keep making small test batches and vary your ingredients. Eventually you'll find something spot on. google is your friend! I'd suggest anybody interested in trying it... google 'turbo cider' - give it a go.
  • Trebec
    Computer models are the best way to predict things.
  • Chewbacca
    @Spencer Have had a look on google a few times, just thought I'd ask you since you seem rather enthusiastic! I may give it a go come Summer, it's just a pity the breweries don't seem to do their own kits a la Sodastream. Imagine, Sodastream for beer. Awesome!
  • Spencer
    I'd honestly suggest homebrew in the winter for 2 reasons... 1. all the beer and cider I'm making in the garage will have a good 6 or 7 months to mature and age. and it'll be ready just as summer rolls around... perfect for long warm evenings and summer bbq's. 2. temperature control. it is much much easier to maintain a constant set temperature in the winter. Just get a brew belt or heat pad. Set it and forget it. In the summer however it can get too hot and it's bloody hard to maintain a fixed temperature when your trying to cool it down. now is the time to brew and bottle! then let it rest. as for beer kits ... I've had some mixed results with both brewers choice and Cooper's kits. I'm sure they both do wheat beer kits.
  • Spencer
    but as a first attempt ... try Turbo cider. it's quick simple and effective and requires little (if any) specialist equipment.
  • Sicknote
    Grow a beard, start wearing sandals with socks and brew your own.....ooh arrr...
  • Jeff N.
    @ Darren "I don’t buy cheap crap anyway, I usually pay £10 for a bottle of wine" In that case you're a mug. As the price at that end of the scale has no bearance on the quality.
  • matron
    @Jeff Nutt Actually Jilly, £10 is about the right price to pay for a decent bottle. What you want to look out for are offers where £10 bottles have been reduced. Those are good value. Alternatively, continue to drink Lambrini, you ape.
  • Bedtime B.
    @matron As you can't tell the difference between wine and perry, i.e. Lambrini, it looks like Jeff Nutt is right and you are a mug for spending £10 a bottle. You ape(?)
  • Arthur L.
    I tend to drink my own piss. Cheap and you get at least 3 uses from a single bottle of wine.
  • LancerVancer
    All this shite about alcohol. I still think the country would be better off if they legalized weed. They would create jobs and a lot of tax revenue. Plus they would stop all these gangs from making grow houses. Lets not do that cause weed is totally evil. A lot more evil than ciggies or beer!! The fuckwits need to open their eyes and see the real world for once. Flex wit da herb.
  • Tony B.
    It's all a load of jizz. Let's say Tesco are currently charging £1 for a 7.9% lager, but are then "forced" to charge £1.56 - who's getting the extra 56p? Ah yes, that'll be Tesco. Why not make the minimum price a tax instead you fucking government bellends? At least that way you could use it for the NHS, or reducing the deficit that you keep on crying about. This country is run by utter fuckwits.
  • dvdj10
    Because then the price of all alcohol would go up not just the shite?
  • Simon
    They don't want to make it a tax because then it would affect those with expensive tastes in booze (i.e. themselves) as much as the alcoholics. Why can't they just do a tax per unit of alcohol and then reduce tax or duty in something else that effects us good working folk like fuel. If it was per unit of alcohol then it would have more effect of the likes of strong white cider and less effect on a half decent decent beer or wine.
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