Friday, 23 March 2012

Cameron targets binge drinking

Softcapitalist | March 23 11:18am | Permalink

This debate has little to do with facts. 

Quite interesting to note that only 1/3rd of the A&E admissions are wholly related to alcohol consumption, and we do not know how many of these are related to alcohol abuse. A partially related admission is for instance you get to A&E because your kid left a banana peel on your kitchen tiles and you slipped on it, you happen to have high blood pressure, this is an alcohol associated condition and there you go - you are part of the government statistics. 

The culture cannot be changed w min price, this is a misguided attempt to generate more revenue. The overall alcohol consumption has steadily fallen in the UK but weekend abuse is visible and smelly. 

The government is pursuing a "high moral" policy of vice punishment, as if responsible alcohol consumption is something to be ashamed of.

How unfortunate it became politically incorrect to challenge the extremist views of lobbying groups, and government hypocrisy on the motivation behind raising taxes. Genuine care for its citizens or milk the cow?


Cameron targets binge drinking

Britain’s binge drinking culture is to be “attacked from every angle”, David Cameron will say on Friday as he announces plans to introduce a new minimum price for alcohol and stop supermarkets offering two-for-one deals.
The prime minister, publishing the government’s alcohol strategy, will acknowledge that his proposals may provoke a backlash but will say pushing up the cost of alcohol is a necessary step to clamp down on “booze Britain”, an epidemic costing the nation £21bn a year.





“I know this won’t be universally popular,” Mr Cameron will say. “But the responsibility of being in government isn’t always about doing the popular thing. It is about doing the right thing. Binge drinking is a serious problem. And I make no excuses for clamping down on it.
“[It] isn’t some fringe issue, it accounts for half of all alcohol consumed in this country. The crime and violence it causes drains resources in our hospitals, generates mayhem on our streets and spreads fear in our communities.”
The prime minister has turned tackling Britain’s drinking culture into a personal crusade, overriding concerns raised by Andrew Lansley, his health secretary, and the drinks industry to press ahead with a minimum price per unit. He will say on Friday that pitching that figure at 40p could mean 50,000 fewer crimes each year and 900 fewer alcohol-related deaths.
The pricing changes will be accompanied by other measures including giving pubs more powers to refuse to serve alcohol to drunk people and a late-night levy to get pubs and clubs to help pay for policing.
“When beer is cheaper than water, it is just too easy for people to get drunk on cheap alcohol at home before they even set foot in the pub,” the prime minister will say. “[Minimum pricing] isn’t about stopping responsible drinking, adding burdens on business or some new stealth tax – it’s about fast action where universal change is needed.”
Theresa May, the home secretary, said the changes targeted a small number of people who “pre-load” by drinking at home before a night out and who are two and a half times as likely to be involved in violent crime. She said it would not affect “responsible drinkers”.
“Too many town centres around our country sadly, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights, are scenes of drunken mayhem,” she told the BBC’s Today programme on Friday. “An awful lot of people don’t go in and if they do, they don’t enjoy it.”
Mr Cameron will also consult on banning multi-buy promotions in supermarkets to stop people buying more drink than they need.
But by pitching the minimum price at 40p, the government risks angering the drinks industry without appeasing the health lobby, which has called for a minimum price of 50p.
“It’s been pitched this way not to scare the horses,” said Gavin Partington, interim chief executive of WSTA, the industry trade body. It said the levy would push up prices for beer and wine drinkers, while an average bottle of vodka could be 60p cheaper under the new rules and a bottle of scotch whisky could drop 80p in price.
Diageo, the world’s biggest distiller by revenues, said the intervention was misguided. “Rather than being a targeted intervention, it simply hits consumers hard, particularly those on low incomes. There is no credible evidence from anywhere in the world that it is an effective measure in reducing alcohol related harm,” said Andrew Cowan, Country Director for Diageo in the UK.
The drinks industry has long argued that a minimum unit price is regressive, affecting ordinary drinkers without having an impact on problem drinkers.
The government and health lobby dispute this, claiming that minimum unit pricing can deter drinkers, slashing hospital admissions and spending by the National Health Service on drink-related illnesses.

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