After much debate the Government have finally put up the price of alcohol. The main agenda is to reduce alcohol related harm. This is a bold move and has sparked some serious issues. A lot of research has gone into this, here are some of the findings;
• Evidence shows that increasing the price will reduce harm, however the price of alcohol is only a small part in the alcohol problem that the UK faces today.
• It has been suggested that the increase in price will reduce crime. Particularly crime committed by an individual
• Increasing alcohol prices may also decrease violence.
• The evidence supports the general principle that increasing alcohol price reduces alcohol consumption by young people suggests that binge, hazardous, harmful and younger drinkers tend to choose cheaper alcoholic beverages.
So the evidence suggests that increasing alcohol prices will reduce harm, but all that is really happening is that alcohol is being taxed differently. In general, the evidence suggests that as you increase taxes, and alcoholic beverages become more expensive, individuals tend to use alcohol less.
However, the findings indicate that the reality is not so simple, because there are alcoholic beverages at different levels of price, and when you implement taxation, and what happens is that the individuals who are able to purchase the alcoholic beverages that were more expensive just switch to less expensive ones.
Perhaps if the government were serious about curbing binge drinking they would return us to the old licensing laws. Being able to drink 24/7 is a major reason behind alcohol problems in this country, that and the ‘special’ offers in supermarkets, my local supermarket is flogging 3 x 15 cans of Lager for £15 – if that doesn’t encourage binge drinking, what will? 45 cans for £15? That’s an area that needs to be addressed.
As was commented on today’s BBC Breakfast programme – years ago, driving under the influence of drink was often seen as a bit macho. “Cor we ‘ad a larff – I had such a skinful – I even tried to get into the wrong car – and I can’t remember how on earth I managed to get home !”
Hoho ho – laughs all round.
But nowadays regarded as totally unacceptable behaviour.
As with smoking in a restaurant – spoiling the meals of those who do not.
Neither changes in public attitudes came about by ‘price fixing’. They came about by education – explanation of the facts – increasing awareness.