Can’t Drink won’t Drink?

The recent news that the government are going to set a minimum price for each unit of alcohol (40 pence per unit) may appear to be a good idea to curb the increase in alcohol related illness but I fear that it may be too little too late. Sure there is research out there that tells us this might be a good idea and that it may prevent people buying as much alcohol. The producers and bankers will not lose out either as it will see their revenue from sales increase. The government are surely onto a winner then in keeping everyone happy including all those professionals who have to deal with the illness, poverty, homelessness and violence that too much alcohol can cause. So far so good but what if you are obsessed with the stuff, dependent even, on getting your daily dose just to stop the shakes or the anxiety that you know will return if you have to go through the cold turkey of withdrawals?

Many people are drinking far too much and are also very aware of units and recommended daily guidelines but if this does not stop them abusing their bodies will slightly greater prices? I expect that for those who are now so dependant and who no longer find it a pleasure to drink alcohol but a necessity the price hike will not stop them or even slow them down. They will simply go without other necessities convincing themselves that they do not really need them so that they can still afford alcohol. Making alcohol less accessible might have been a better idea as we all know that if we are ever trying to control our intake of anything it is best not to be able to get hold of it in those weaker moments. Would putting up the price of chocolate stop people from buying it? I am guessing not. Removing it from temptation might but then the producers and the taxman would be the ones who lost out.

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3 Comments to “Can’t Drink won’t Drink?”

  1. I did a bit of back-of-an-off-licence-receipt maths when this news came out. 40p a unit is actually less than most of the prices in my local offy. It seemed to affect only a few special offers, and those cheap-and-nasty bottles of cider.

    I guess it would affect those hardcore drinkers who are buying White Lightning etc, though I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of them simply turned to crime if they can’t afford the price increase.

    • Yes that crossed my mind too I wonder if the government will monitor the crime rates post minimum pricing? Of course they have managed to bump up the price of petrol this week too but that’s another blog!

      • I guess one way it might have a helpful effect would be deterring people from escalating their drinking habits into a big bottle of cheap cider a day.

        Though to be honest, at 40p a unit my gut feeling is that overall effect won’t be particularly huge either way.

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