Advantages stops ridiculous drinks promos
Disadvantages won't change the culture of drinking
Our towns and cities have become no go zones after dark; we have all seen the pictures of skimpily dressed young women passed out drunk by the side of the road while the guys throw punches at each other before heading for a kebab and a taxi home. My local town even has street pastors at the weekend who volunteer their services to pick up drunks and keep them safe from themselves and each other.
Binge drinking is estimated to cost the country £20 billion a year in costs to the NHS, policing, and various other things. One in 26 hospital admissions in the UK are drink related and alcohol plays a part in 46% of all assaults. Almost 9000 die early each year due to drink related illnesses and of course there is the human cost of alcoholism in terms of reduced quality of life and family breakdown.
In practical terms this will mean that a bottle of wine will cost at least £4.69, a bottle of spirits over £13 and the cheap tramp juice cider will cost £4.20 instead of £1.69 for a 2 litre bottle. Buckfast tonic wine which is associated with youths causing mayhem on the streets of Scotland will still cost the same as before as it is already more than 50p a unit.
I am broadly in favour of minimum pricing for alcohol; some of the drinks promotions I have seen have sold booze at ridiculously low prices. A local nightclub had a deal on a Wednesday night where you paid a tenner on the door and then could have all you could drink for free, human nature being what it is then people wanting to get as much as possible for their money could drink ridiculous amounts. A bottle of Lambrini wine costs a mere £1.80 for a bottle, it tastes revolting but since Lambrini girls just want to get pissed then that will not put them off. When I was a teenager we would load up on the cheap cider before going out clubbing, the prices of the cheap and nasty stuff have actually fallen in the 17 or so years since I used it to get drunk.
I think the price per unit is too high. I am really annoyed that me, a moderate drinker, will not be able to get the £10 bottles of Smirnoff or whisky in the pre-Christmas deals which happen every year. Pub drinkers will not see a change in prices so I doubt whether there will be much of a difference on a Saturday night. I wonder what will happen to the cheap nasty brands once the minimum pricing comes in, will we see Lambkin and Special Brew disappear completely as people who bought them for pennies switch to nicer brand when the prices rise?
The people this measure will hit in the pocket are the hardcore alcoholic and teenage drinkers.
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