Minimum alcohol prices plan hasn't a leg to stand on
The coalition government are introducing a minimum price for alcohol in an attempt to show everyone that they're big and tough and want to send out 'a serious message' to... well... the voices in their heads probably.
They'll be flexing their muscles and banning shops and bars from selling drinks for less than the tax paid on them. There'll be no more fighting in the streets by the time this government of ours has finished with the scoundrels plying us all with bargain booze.
Some MP, who has a name but you won't care what it is, says: "Banning the sale of alcohol below the rate of duty plus VAT is the best starting point for tackling the availability of cheap alcohol and will send a clear signal to retailers and the public that government takes this issue seriously."
Yeah! You tell 'em! Wait. Hang on. There's a flaw in all this. So small is the difference in price that local shopkeepers aren't even going to notice any difference. The Home Office, reports the Beeb, is proposing a minimum price of about 21p per unit of beer and 28p per unit of spirits. That's cheaper than what your local shop sells them on at.
It seems then, that this is targeting supermarkets who use alcohol as a loss leader, which attracts customers to their stores, hoping spending their money on other goods while they're there to make a profit for the big boys.
As the supermarkets have lots of money to throw around the place, do you think this will deter them from flogging us cheap ale? Unlikely. So, are we to assume that the government are really going to wag their fingers and take away supermarket licenses that allow them to sell alcohol? Yeah.