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IDSHome.com is living up to its reputation!

alcohol prices have held steady or fallen in real terms.

Ergo the price of alcoholic beverages has not increased as much as housing, gas, electricity, Council Tax, petrol, vegetables, school fees, university tuition, clothing etc.....but we politicians think it should increase at the same rate..

The taxation of alcoholic beverages yields £14 billion to The Exchequer but that is not enough....

So let us consider the EU Commission plans for tax harmonisation which require a significant REDUCTION in taxation of alcoholic beverages - beer is three times the German price, and wine also three times German prices; and Scotch is far cheaper in German supermarkets than in Britain.

Let's consider instead VAT at 5% or higher on food to cut down on obesity - so far we put 17.5% VAT on biscuits, cakes, crisps, drinks etc...but we have a major obesity problem leading to hip replacement costs and a diabetic problem which would bankrupt the NHS

Maybe we should put VAT at 25% on food and harmonise our rates across the EU ?

It is good that Conservative policy is to discuss Indirect Taxation at last and we can decide if taxation should be a QMV matter inside the EU

The proposal is bad on two levels: (1) it will not work (CAMRA is correct, heavy drinkers will just go for cheaper brands) and (2) it involves raising taxes which is hardly a vote winner or particularly Conservative.

IDS shows, once again, that his political antennae are v faulty.

I like the new site - but why are you still pushing this silly idea. I spoke to a young student type today who said that his friends all said they would smoke dope if beer became too expensive!

This proposal is a vote loser and a waste of time. A tax on booze, roughly the same as a budget increase, will do nothing to stop binge drinking. The problems go deeper.

Reading this sort of stuff, I assume that the Conservatives have a good reason for wanting to lose the next election.

Punishing the law-abiding majority to deter the silly minority is not the way forward.

It would only work with the voters if they could be SURE it was ringfenced for treatment for binge drinking/alcolism/liver failure etc. Even then, it would be perceived not as being very helpful I am afraid!

Wouldn't be enough to stop me voting Tory but it does strike me as a risky and probably inefective idea. Still, I'd prefer it to the suggestion somes people have made that the drinking age be increased to 21.

Why don't you address the point that IDS makes 'bluepatriot' instead of making silly remarks like the post above.
I can't say I would be fantastically pleased to have to pay more for a beer but if anyone has better ideas for curing the mass drunkeness that afflicts our country I assume IDS or Cameron would be pleased to hear them. There has been a complete lack of good ideas on this site so far.

My fiscal side says no, but my social side says maybe. I think that a proposal like this deserves careful consideration before being rejected out of hand. I also think that you could sell the idea as part of a package of measures such as advertising restrictions and maybe restrictions on drink offers. I know how often I go into city bars to find 4 shots for a fiver offers etc and the drinking it encourages and the damage it does.

I really disagree with the claims about the consumption sensitivity to price for the younger consumer (in work 20 something’s). Here in London, the busiest bars are the most expensive ones. These are often the ones that are the focus of trouble. For example, within a few hundred yards of he there are two pubs but the price difference for the equivalent strong larger is 50 pence per pint. The more expensive pub is full of young, noisy idiots and the cheaper has very pleasant, mature working people as regulars.

Raising the price of drink demonstrates one dimensional thinking. It will do nothing to solve the problem and everything to alienate the voter.

Countries in Scandinavia which have long operated high alcohol tax policies have also paradoxically had a serious alcoholism problem to go with them. Some provinces of Canada used to treat buying their highly-taxed alcohol a bit like buying Playboy: purchasing some wine and beer from the Ontario Liquor Licence Board of Control is one of the most depressing experiences I ever had, from a cold warehouse-type building on an industrial estate where no goods were on display but had to be chosen from a grubby list. They too had a major problem with high alcohol consumption: I was once drunk firmly under the table by a 75 year old Lithuanian Canadian whose capacity for vodka was astounding.

This is simply not going to work and will only achieve serious irritation for the vast majority of us who use alcohol responsibly. Factor in the law of unintended consequences, as suggested by CAMRA, and this ends up as a loopy idea, albeit a well-intentioned one.

Back to the drawing board, I think.

Malcolm, three better ideas:

1. Bringing up our children better.
2. Compulsary winetasting classes for all 17 year olds, so they realise that quality is better than quantity.
3. Very harsh penalties for anyone who misbehaves in a public place when drunk, and even harsher for anyone violent when drunk.

Right idea - just the wrong way to do it! Countries such as Sweden and Norway which traditionally have had high alcohol prices have also alcohol problems. However, try to attack the social side of binge drinking, the Happy Hours, the two for the price of one offers that are around. Enforce tha 18+ rule would do for a kickoff. Underage drinking is endemic so one thing would be to revoke licenses from pubs/clubs which have a high percentage of underage clientele.

Fine - if we're going to calculate the alcohol industry's contribution to the economy, however, you can't just equate the negatives. You have to allow for, no doubt amongst other considerations, the tax already paid by consumers on alcohol purchases, the council tax and licencing fees paid by licensed premises, the corporation tax paid by pubs and alcohol companies, the value of jobs created by alcohol companies and licensed premises (including savings for the Government by not having to pay such employees welfare) and the income tax paid on their earnings by people employed by producers and licensed premises.

Surely IDS and his policy group will have considered this sufficiently and have these figures to hand?

This is a truly terrible idea. There are already high taxes on alcohol which have lead to a vast amount of bootlegging. This will be seen as a collective punishment for enjoying a drink, foisted on us by the worst sort of sanctimonious killjoys.

Let's focus a bit more on individual responsibility rather than blaming the "drinks industry" for people's poor decisions.

Gateway drug? Don't make me laugh.

but if anyone has better ideas for curing the mass drunkeness that afflicts our country

Curfew all those under 18 - the city of Munich did this years ago followed by police raids and loss of licence if they found curfew-breakers

Much of this is sheer boredom and this country is stultifyingly boring unless you are heavily into buying a house and watching home-makeover TV ad infinitum....

This ain't gonna happen. DC doesn't need the heat.

In August we will have the wonderful Great British Beer Festival (http://www.gbbf.org.uk). In all the many years that I have been going to it, I have never seen anything like the trouble that people claim drinking causes and let’s face it, a lot of beer gets drunk there. It’s a question of maturity and experience.

Great idea! Higher taxes on alcohol reinforces the tax, tax, tax message that is coming out of Camerons's Conservatives.

I can see where IDS is coming from on this but I can't see it working. I know there is some evidence quoted above but it doesn't seem right that this kind of increase would have an effect. Cetainly the binge drinkers I know would not be put off by this kind of rise, it would take at least a 50% raise if not more. If we are to try to go with this one we need a popular tax decrease to balance it out, the AND theory is crucial here.

It isn't ale-drinkers that cause any problems - it is fizzy lagers and vodka and cocktail mixtures....and considering how alcohol is priced in night-clubs and restaurants I doubt a few pence on the markup is going to deter many.

Then again do we really have 9 bars in the House of Commons and no licence and no hours restriction ?

Wouldn't it be easier for this small band of Tory moralising nuts to bring balance by going out and having some fun themselves instead of seeking to legislate to make life for the rest of us as miserable as theirs?

Hard to fault the analysis of the problems caused by alcohol. The difficulty lies with regarding higher taxation as the solution.
Not a vote winner!!

The road to continued Opposition is paved with good intentions? I sincerely hope not.

(.. No vested interest, as I rarely imbibe and couldn't care less how much it cost)

I'd have no problem with an extra tax on off-licence alcohol, but pubs are already struggling.

And I'd operated a dual age limit= 18 for pubs but 21 for off-licence sales. That would restrict street corner drinking without killing the live music/stand up comedy/social scene that is an important part of many peoples late teen/early 20s life. The 'Mirror' reported on Fri or Sat that such a scheme was being considered.

Good idea cornstock

I dont drink so it really doesnt effect me - however what are we arguing. Are we arguing that increases in tax will cut consumption (which I dont believe) or the tax will not lead to a decrease in consumption but will just be a method of raising revenue to pay for treatment?

If we are saying it will cut consumption I'm not convinced because I dont believe raising the price of cigarettes ever stopped people smoking (even among the young).

"60% of boys have been binge drinking by the age of 15. Cirrhosis of the liver has gone up 350%. There are 23,000 acts of alcohol-related violence every week. 20% of violent crimes take place near a club or pub. Much workplace absentee-ism and underperformance is drink-related. Surveys also suggest that alcohol misuse is a gateway to drug misuse. The annual cost to society of alcohol and drug misuse - including anti-social behaviour and health problems - could be as much as £39bn says the SJPG. Money raised by higher taxes could fund treatments for people with addiction problems". (Not to mention the drunken assaults that take place on hospital workers)

So what's the problem - there isn't one - carry on drinking boys, cheers, but don't come crying to the State when you become useless or violent through booze or your quality of life is affected by drink directly or indirectly.
How mean can you get? The extra 7p a pint and 25p a pint is not a 10% increase as the pickled brains of the producers would have you believe and the supermarkets can be made to tow the line. If we told the EU to mind its own business we could control excise duty. And if you cannot afford 7p extra on a pint to assist social remedies then you shouldn't be drinking
But, hey! Who cares. Cheers, Broast,Down the Hatch, Drink up - I knew your mother (she was an alcoholic). WE couldn't give a XXXX

The 25p a pint should read 25p on a bottle of spirits (you see what drink can do to you)

The annual cost to society of obesity will soon take up a huge proportion of the NHS budget.

I would be extremely uneasy about certan foods like cheese or even fast food having a tax on them to pay for future treatments because the foods are seen as "bad".

There is no such think as "bad" food - its about how much you consume - and surely the same can be said of alcohol.

Why aren't we stressing the virtues of personal responsibility instead of seeing the tax system as a blunt way of attempting to change behaviour, and actually looking towards education, showing how alcohol can be drunk responsibly?

Another reason why this will go down like a lead balloon is the effect it will have on already hard-pressed rural pubs. We are already losing far too many of these. Hiking the price of alcohol will accelerate this process. The press will be quick to relate any quickening of this trend to the policy.

Most of the drunks one sees in these awful clips of legless binge drinkers on the box are otherwise well-behaved young people with jobs. There used to be a law against being found drunk in a public place (and I daresay there still is). Why not enforce such laws and have these people cool their heels in the cells (or better, a vomit and urine filled drunk tank) for three to four days whereupon they will have to explain their absence to an angry employer? They won't be able to say they were off with 'flu because their mugshots will be in the local paper. Employers should be encouraged to sack such people.

Once it was the duty of the Landlord not to serve anyone who was drunk upon pain of losing their licence. Why not revive the use of such a law and enforce it? Prosecute offenders.

Do police officers still 'walk through' licensed premises"? I suppose not. When I worked in a rural pub the cops used to visit once a fortnight or so: this was a salutary reminder that we had to do it by the book or the boss would lose his licence.

What a bad idea it was to place licensing in the hands of local authorities. This reduces its importance to that of a dog licence. What message did that send out? The Licensing Justices used to do an excellent job. The power should be fully returned to them with new powers to take proactive steps to take licences away from any establishment that is not preventing drunks customers from getting more. If there is a night when there are lots of drunks in the street, let the justices close all licensed premises for a week: the pubs will soon start policing themselves like mad.

No 'Happy Hours' of discounted liquor which are simply designed to get the punter in, get it drunk and then have it drink even more to the profit of the pub.

This may all sound like dinosaur 'it was better in the 50s (60s. 70s delete as appropriate)' stuff, but then this problem did not exist then.

This is all very admirable, but I can't help but feeling it's also wholely unrealistic. I speak as a medical non drinker so the policy would have zero impact on me, but I really don't see people thinking, 'I won't have that 10th pint because the 70p will tip me over the financial edge'. Only increases to 4 or 5 pounds a pint will start affecting behavior in that way imo. That policy would of course empty the pubs and send half the population over to France on booze cruises.

We need to change the culture of drinking. Ending happy hours and 2 for 1 may help with this, but many people feel the need to be out of their face at the weekend. This may be down to fundimental unhappiness or other factors. It's a very difficult problem to tackle. Good to see we're addressing it.

Andrew I agree - it's good to be talking about it - I'm just not sure we are looking at the right solution. As has been expressed many places - given that people I know who go into town and get drunk on a Friday night spend a fortune doing it - I hardly think raising the price a few pence will deter anyone - therefore it doesn't solve any underlysing issue.

However if the purpose is as a revenue raiser to pay for serious treatment - thats a seperate issue isn't it?

What an utterly crazy, illiberal, vote-losing idea. Us Tories should always be cutting taxes not suggesting increasing them! [The Institute of Alcohol Studies appears to be an anti-alcohol lobby-group; no wonder they like the idea of increased taxes.]

Of course it all depends on what you consider "binge drinking" - your average middle-class person who regularly likes a few glasses of wine with her evening-meal would be surprised to be counted as a 'binge drinker' but thats what the anti-alcohol lobby would claim.

As the 7p will have virtually zero effect on consumption, then using a tax hike to pay for treatment makes sense. I would be surprised if we can't find money from within present budgets though. Stating we'll raise taxes on something the vast majority of people enjoy doing before an election isn't really a vote winner though.

Time to wage war on the binge culture, using whatever weapons are available to us.

I particularly detest the way in which heavy drinking has become widespread among young women. It's encouraged by many aspects of popular culture, including such publications as the Briget Jones books which I personally find about as funny as a slap in the mouth with a dead fish.

Somebody on CH recently claimed that Conservatives should 'change' to suit the mentality of the kind of idiot who watches 'Big Brother'.

On the contrary, the only 'change' we should make is to train our guns on all such examples of infantile and anti-social behaviour. The binge culture is a good place to start.

Bit unfair on people from the north. We in the South can easily pop over to Calais and have a day out and stock up on very cheap booze any time. Makes a nice outing anyway, and if it saves even more money that just makes it more attractive.

Of ccourse this proposal will increase the temptation for 'white van man' to stock up on booze and flog it to friends, an unlawful activity I think?

"Why aren't we stressing the virtues of personal responsibility instead of seeing the tax system as a blunt way of attempting to change behaviour, and actually looking towards education, showing how alcohol can be drunk responsibly"?

That is precisely what the report overseen by IDS is trying to do. In the meantime and until pigs fly the extra impost on drink would be used to ameliorate the situation

We in the South can easily pop over to Calais and have a day out and stock up on very cheap booze any time.

Something else which needs to be stopped.

And yet another good reason for pulling out of the EU. We need control of our own customs policies.

Guido has a predictable take on this! It's all right for him, bargain plonk at his French retreat et al...

Apologies for the incorrect link in the previous post - should have been this - don't know how that happened! Although admittedly it might be Freudian linking, what do you think?

Putting more tax on booze in order to stop people drinking shows that IDS has a lot to learn about alcholism. Putting up the price of drugs/alcohol makes not a jot of difference to an addict/alcoholic. Why do addicts pay £90 for a gram of heroin for goodness sake? And all this talk of binge-drinking is just plain silly. Why is it worse for a kid to "binge drink" 15 red bull and vodkas in one hour and then throw up over a copper as opposed to a kid who spends all afternoon on his own knocking back a bottle of vodka in order to blot out feelings of loneliness and self-hatred. It just another method of taking in alcohol. What IDS should be talking about is "alcholic drinking" and as any alcoholic knows, there's a lot of difference between alcoholic drinking and getting mightily pissed from time to time. The alcoholic causes damage to himself and those about him, both mental and sometimes physical. The normal drinker does not.
And putting a tax on booze a la IDS is in effect telling the tax payer that the more people drink the more money will go into paying for treatment. Er, there's something not quite right there. The more people damage themselves with alcohol, the more treatment will be available? That is ethically criminal. Why don't the Tories show how serious they are about the problem by taking money from somewhere else? E.g. pulling out of Iraq would help pay for a treatment centre in every town. And before we pull out Afghanistan as well we could napalm the poppy fields. Just an idea. Makes a lot more sense that putting 7 pence on a pint and thus ensuring that the Conservatives have no chance of getting elected....

I'm not convinced about this one and I think many of the above are right about the potential effects of a tax hike upon everyone other than the people themselves who are responsible for the 'social costs of alcohol abuse'.

Somebody mentioned CAMRA above and they are quite right. Anyone who has spent an evening at a Beer Festival can see a phonomenon which goes way beyond binge drinking, but also witness the lack of antisocial behaviour which everone seems to assume is an instantaneous result of drinking more than a couple of units of alcohol in a day. So where's the difference?

Facts are that alcohol is a depressant and is good at amplifying the mood you are in. I think somebody needs to be looking just a little bit deeper at the causes of alcohol-related antisocial behaviour before penalising the wrong people yet again.

Are young people really happy in the first place and is targeting alcohol just another way of avoiding the truth that some people simply aren't happy in today's UK?

CAMRA is right on this one. Increasing taxes on alcohol will not reduce binge drinking unless the increases are massive in which case everyone will suffer and rural pubs will go to the wall (hardly helping communities). The youngsters we are trying to help reduce their drinking will simply buy from supermarkets or from the backs of cars. Otherwise the package of ideas from IDS on social breakdown are extremely good.


Dontmakemelaugh - I'm sorry I dont accept a 50p a pint rise would stop binge drinking let alone a 7p rise. If the aim is just to raise money to pay for treatment then yes it would raise substantial funds and that is a seperate argument. As others have suggested if it is a revenue raising scheme - arent there better ways to fund the necessary funds?

"We in the South can easily pop over to Calais and have a day out and stock up on very cheap booze any time.

Something else which needs to be stopped."

Why? If somebody wants to go abroad to get cheap alcohol that should be up to them. The vast majority who do are not binge drinkers but just resent the high taxes on alcohol.

In continuation of my last post, responding to the binge drinking problem by shouting "ban this, ban that" will just lose us votes. It makes us sound like a bunch of grumpy old men who hate fun and freedom of choice. There is no doubt that we have severe social breakdown but punishing the majority of innocent people is not the way to deal with it. There are (I presume) already laws to deal with people who stumble out of pubs smashed off their faces. These laws need to be properly enforced especially against those who indulge in antisocial behaviour while drunk. This way only the guilty are punished.

7p in the pint doesnt meet the academy;s 10 percent figure. why not make it 10p. this proposal will be a vote loser, but what is right and what is popular often conflict.would an extra 3 p make the tax more harmful to us, and helpful to labour?

Dog biter believes that 7p on a pint would make the Tories unelectable. Seeing what has happened to the social and moral fabric of Britain he could well be right, but doesn't it seem petty - another 5 years of Brown all to avoid 7p on a pint. I can think of other less superficial reasons that might make the Tories unelectable.

"Dontmakemelaugh - I'm sorry I dont accept a 50p a pint rise would stop binge drinking let alone a 7p rise. If the aim is just to raise money to pay for treatment then yes it would raise substantial funds and that is a seperate argument. As others have suggested if it is a revenue raising scheme - arent there better ways to fund the necessary funds". Jonathan

I never suggested that 50p a pint would stop binge drinking. As I understand it the 7p was to raise money to provide facilities and help for addicts. If money is to be raised then I think it quite appropriate for that money to be garnered from the industry and I think that is fair.
You would not expect those that wish to tax airtravel to save the planet (I don't think) to raise the tax by placing it on beer and spirits (I wouldn't be surprised for the Greenies to suggest it), or let us say pet food?

We will have to agree to disagree on this one Jonathan. I think we should bear in mind that under Labour in relative terms alcohol has got cheaper (look at the kindly way Brown has taxed his beloved whisky) and the ways in which it can be obtained have been greatly extended. The point is; do we have a problem? If so what other suggestions are on the table to resolve it?

So many posts, so forgive me if this point has been made before. This idea is barmy. People, like me, who have a drink problem wouldn't mind paying an extra 7p. IDS reminds me as to why I was so vocal in calling him to quit - the man is a liability.

Dontmakeme laugh - can you clarify the objective of any suggested rise? If there is a belief that increasing the tax on alcohol will lead to a wholesale reduction in its consumption then I think it wholly misses the point and will not work.

IF HOWEVER the objective is to raise funds for treatment - that is different. I want to know which of these is the objective.Is it purely a revenue raising objective to fund programmes for people with drink problems? That is a fair enough objective and putting further tax on alcohol would achieve that objective - but I will not agree that a few pence on any alcoholic drink would lead to people - who effectively have an addiction - cutting down their consumption.

Yes there are other solutions. We need a wholesale change in our drinking culture. Government wanted a cafe culture like on the continent. Unfortunately you get that by having more cafe's not by having more vertical drinking establishments open longer.

Well it looks like I'm in a tiny minority in that I support this idea. I don't really expect Cameron will accept this idea but I do hope that he will look very seriously at IDS's proposals as a whole and be brave enough to enact many of them even if they might not be universally popular and they might also be expensive.
Also interesting to see that Tomtom has a great idea for curing crime.Curfews for the under 18s! As he's never demonstrated any sort of a sense of humour in the past I assume he's serious. What a guy!No wonder he doesn't like to post under his real name.

Terrible Idea. I mean terrible. Just when we are brow beating Brown for a fondness for social engineering we decide to go 'abolition'.

There is a problem with teenage drunkeness in Britain, and there always has been. For 1000 years and more the French kids were supping a glass of St. Emillion with the parents over dinner and we were looting towns and villages, but not without provication...

Forgive me, I'e been dronkng

Presumably price elasticities of demand amongst teenagers, amongst binge drinkers, among drunken young women, etc. are not beyond calculation. And I assume that since IDS has had a while to have the calculations done and is now saying that young people are more sensitive to price, he must feel he has the evidence to support his position. In contrast most contributors here offer just assertion or anecdote. I'd recommend you check his numbers when they're out (tomorrow?).

So let's grant him for the moment that young people are price sensitive and that increasing beer 7p per pint would indeed have a material impact. Would that be the thing to do?

I suggest a five-fold approach to answering a question like this:

Q1) What's the motive for government involvement here? Why couldn't families, charities, churches or private companies deal with it?
A1) The problem is that people's unruly behaviour imposes costs on everyone else (vomit on your doorstep, noise, threats of violence, etc.). Also, people are not the most rational of consumers when they've drunk a couple, and may not make a good decision about whether to drink one more.

Q2) What is the objective of this specific policy intervention?
A2) I guess, the reduction in binge drinking amongst the young?

Q3) What options are there?
A3) Clearly, raising taxes on alcohol would be one, but Londoner has offered us some others - punishing unruly behaviour, encouraging good child rearing, etc.. Others have suggested raising the drinking age or the off-license age to 21. We might add things like providing additional sports facilities, reducing the proliferation of "no ball games allowed" signs, re-introducing National Service, and many others. I guess that IDS has considered some of these.

Q4) What are the impacts?
A4) IDS has told us that raising beer tax would reduce alcohol consumption amongst the young. By how much? How much would that affect binge drinking and unruliness? How does this compare with the effects of the other potential policies? Have we reasoned this through or provided evidence? My guess is that IDS has.

Q5) What's the best policy?
A5) Ah, well there's the rub...

Jonathan, according to IDS it is to raise £400,000,000 to pay for drink treatment centres across the UK, I suppose it is also hoped that people will drink less too.

Malcolm - thanks for that. For me that has hit the nail on the head. How much does a pint or spirits go up every budget? I dont for one moment think that those rises have stopped people with an addiction from drinking.

HOWEVER - a tax on alcohol would raise funds - so in effect we are saying this is an earmarked tax for a specific social issue.

The reason I find this argument interesting is that the same argument can be applied to food. I worked for a high street retailer for over 3 years and worked closely with the British Retail Consortium.

At one point I was heavily invovled in the issue of nutrition.

Obesity will be a bigger social issue (its costs to the NHS) that binge drinking in the future if it isnt already.

Are we as a party prepared to say we will put a tax on certain foods (or the fast food industry) to pay for the treatment of people with obesity and educational programmes for healthy eating?

The same arguments apply if the objective is a fundraising one for a specific social issue.

Sorry, bad idea. Why should those that enjoy a drink or enjoy getting drunk responsibly (kind off) pay for the one in one hundred idiots. This is a Labour policy, this is a Socialist policy, not a Tory one. I live in Norway. I know, adults of any age cannot buy wine in a supermarket because some rural farmers go alcoholic if you let them. Now they drink brake fluid and go blind.

"Sorry, bad idea. Why should those that enjoy a drink or enjoy getting drunk responsibly (kind off) pay for the one in one hundred idiots."

Either way, it is wider society that pays for the one in a hundred idiots, so perhaps it is fairer to try and incorporate some link between cause and effect in determining who pays.

Having said that, and bearing in mind that I'm usually an advocate of economic disincentivisation of harmful practice, pragmatism suggests this one has 'vote-loser' stamped all over it.

Dontmakeme laugh - can you clarify the objective of any suggested rise? If there is a belief that increasing the tax on alcohol will lead to a wholesale reduction in its consumption then I think it wholly misses the point and will not work. Jonathan

I think we will have to wait until tomorrow until we can assess the full impact of IDS's proposals. I believe that this is, to quote that dreadful phrase, only a small part of the big picture to try to correct the malaise and costly breakdown affecting us all and especially families, unwanted pregnancies etc caused through drink. The 7p will not lead to a wholesale reduction in consumption, but it will give publicity to the problem and it will show that the Tories are trying to combat problems facing society. Could this be the compassionate, caring Tories in action that Cameron keeps telling us about?

I await the report with interest. For a more eloquent and informed contribution than I can give read Janet Daley (Telegraph) and Melanie Phillips (Mail) of today the 9th.

Why? If somebody wants to go abroad to get cheap alcohol that should be up to them. The vast majority who do are not binge drinkers but just resent the high taxes on alcohol.

If our democratically-elected parliament decides to impose duties on alcohol there is no reason why we should tolerate the unelected EU Commission permitting alcohol abusers to circumvent the law.

The duty-free allowances on alcohol and cigarettes which were in force until only a few years ago were perfectly adaquate for all normal people.

But the publicity the proposal has got has not been helpful to the case has it. I too will await the full proposals with interest. However I do return to the point that if it is just an earmarked tax then I think there are alternative ways to find the money, and the same argument could be applied to fast food.

"Sorry, bad idea. Why should those that enjoy a drink or enjoy getting drunk responsibly (kind off) pay for the one in one hundred idiots"

Why should we careful drivers pay extra for the careless and uninsured? We do so because chaos would ensue if we didn't. Why should we pay for those "responsible (kind of)" drunks that eventually finish up in hospital with emaciated livers? Because we are still part of a caring society - just about.

Surey this isnt a debate about caring in that sense - its a case of will it work? Have tax increases after the various budgets over the last decade ever lead to a decrease in alcohol?

Good night Jonathan - I am going to bed - see you in the morning. Nighty night,

Ta ta - still work to do for me!

I was just about to switch off and you are back again.

Surey this isnt a debate about caring in that sense - its a case of will it work? Have tax increases after the various budgets over the last decade ever lead to a decrease in alcohol?

No, tax increases have been all about filling Browns satchel, but then again the problem has not had the bad publicity and sense of public alarm and urgency that it now has and the tax now contemplated is not to just raise revenue, but to be aimed at a specific problem and to arouse awareness.

That is definitely it. Good night!

Not sure the aim of tax policy should be to raise awareness.

VAT is already charged on alcohol anyway, I don't think there should be duties additionally but there are - pushing up tax on alcohol will just increase Black Market sales.

Why not abolish the duty and have a VAT of 20% on alcohol - this would help out many small pubs and off licences thereby both increasing competition and strengthening local shops run by people from the local area.

"Sorry, bad idea. Why should those that enjoy a drink or enjoy getting drunk responsibly (kind off) pay for the one in one hundred idiots"

Because this whole country is run for dysfunctional people. The whole political system sees deadbeats and criminals as its constituency and takes the rest of us hostage

there is no reason why we should tolerate the unelected EU Commission permitting alcohol abusers to circumvent the law.

There is a very big and expensive reason....and The High Court can enforce it


Of the £100 earned, £64.31 will have been paid to the government in tax. At the end of the day, all you will have to show for it is £35.69 in goods and services. A higher-rate taxpayer will retain a miserly £21.69.

Alcohol abuse is not really the cause of the problems; it’s just the means that underlying problems are expressed. If alcohol was banned completely then the underlying problems would be expressed through other means such as abuse of other substances, self-harm or violence to others.

This story has caused massive damage to the country as well as the Conservative Party. It has damaged the country because in the next budget the chancellor will feel that he can freely hike duty on alcohol by a massive amount. He could claim that the Conservatives would do the same even if they say they won’t. The Conservatives have been made a total laughing stock over this idea. It is worse than the grammar school arguments.

I have no doubts in my mind that we have lost all hope of the Conservatives winning the next general election. A lack of real opposition so far, an absence of policies, and any policies that have emerged have been to the left or totally idiotic.

Until IDS and his fellows actually spend a week or so in a 12-step treatment facility learning about what alcoholism really is they are going to continue making dreadful blunders like this. I despair at the rubbish talked by politicians about drugs alcohol. Why on earth can't IDS recruit some advisers who have actually suffered from addiction problems themselves? Then we wouldn't have to read seven pence a pint drivel like this.

Control people's behaviour by taxing it? Have I stumbled onto SocialistHome.com?

I also call to mind the remarks of Gladstone when, having adopted a similar moralising attitude to alcohol taxation, lost the 1874 election: "We have been brought down by a torrent of gin and beer". Take heed Mr Cameron.

Crack down hard on those who are already breaking the law, violence, under age drinking, rowdy behaviour etc. A night in the cells should be standard for anyone caught making a drunken nusiance of themselves. That would solve the problem, rather than imposing collective punishment.

Strange in the circumstances that IDS agreed to open the Winslow Beer Festival in March.

It may not be PC, but the truth is that the binge drinkers are lager drinkers. The people looking for a fight in Bournemouth at 10:30 pm are lager drinkers. If you go to a real ale festival, twice as much beer is consumed and there is no voilence or vandalism. The simple answer to cut binge drinking violence would be to increase duty on lager in pubs and reuduce the duty on real ale in pubs.

We do need to tackle binge drinking, however I think you will agree that it is mainly a problem of the young, raising taxes will not work in 80% of the people.

If you are serious about tackling this problem then I would suggest the following:

1/ Ban drinking on the high streets and all public roads/ parks etc.

2/ Raise the age of drinking in licensed premises to 21

I would suggest that these 2 proposals if enacted would be more successful in reducing binge drinking than raising taxes.

Increasing taxes to curb binge drinking will not work, and will at the same time punish the majority of drinkers who do not binge; they are already though paying very high taxes in comparison to France & Germany
To tackle this problem seriously we need to target the age group who are the ones who are doing the binging!

A big thing we need to do is enforce the exisiting law. That law says that a licensee should not sell alcohol to someone who is drunk. If he does the law says the license should be taken away from him. That law is simply not being enforced!


Taxation on alcohol especially Whisky during the time Gordon Brown was Chancellor of the Exchequer was held down, indeed Gordon Brown was very eager on encouraging the Scottish Whisky industry and Alistair Darling is one of the closest allies of Gordon Brown and is likely to continue his policy on this.

Doubt that raising extra tax on alcohol would have much effect on the amount of drinking of those who are hardened drinkers or teenagers - they will do it anyway and either not spend money on other important things, or indeed steal it. Everyone who drinks though however much will end up being hit by the tax whether they have a drink problem or not!

Keep your thieving fingers off our money! If IDS thinks his "booze" tax is social justice, perhaps he will define the words, nobody at Central Office can, I kept asking.
When did the "conservative party" become a high tax and regulatory party, very socialist. Pity IDS didn't read Hayek.

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