Thursday, September 14, 2006

Taxing the Half-Sober

Article by LMcG

The main story on the news this morning focused on tackling the problem of increasing levels of binge drinking and misuse of drugs in the UK. A government advisory panel argues that tougher methods of teaching children about alcohol and tobacco are needed to combat the rise in consumption. So what are their proposals for achieving this? Yep that’s right, the best way to educate children on the dangers of alcohol is to raise the price of alcohol so that we’ll all learn a valuable lesson, while the government lines their pockets.

The report suggested a number of reasonable measures for reducing alcohol consumption including a ban on alcohol advertising on TV and at most cinemas and a ban on brewers sponsoring sports and music events. Fair enough. This may go some small way towards reducing the exposure and lure of alcohol to children. But raising excise duty on alcohol is not going to deter your casual drinker or regular drinker from buying alcohol. And why should responsible drinkers shoulder the cost for a pointless attempt to deter binge drinkers and heavy drinkers? The same strategy has been applied to petrol use and I don’t see any evidence of increased petrol prices significantly improving the state of the environment. The government knows that most people will always want to buy petrol and drinkers will want to buy alcohol. Increased prices are not going to stop people from buying these products. But what better way to rip people off than to do it in the guise of big brother looking out for our heath and happiness?

Further to this, proposals have been introduced in relation to legal alcohol limits while driving. The report suggests cutting the alcohol limit for drivers under 25 to reduce accidents. Great! But what about the rest of the drivers on the road? Is the government saying drink driving is not a problem with motorists over 25? True, evidence shows that young drivers are more likely to have accidents and are also failing breath tests more frequently than older drivers. But surely a reduction or complete ban for all would result in less accidents and act as a real deterrent for any driver considering that one pint or one glass of wine before hitting the road? The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents have estimated that cutting the limit to 50mg for all motorists would save 65 lives and 230 serious injuries a year on British roads. But hey, there’s no money in this for the government so I guess a tokenistic gesture that requires half the effort will do just as well.


Blogger Jay Tea said...

They should tax the filth that these teenagers drink which would punish them for doing it in the first place while leaving the rest of us alone.

Also start fining adults who buy drinks for underage teenagers and shop owners who sell it.

I do agree with raising cigarettes to an 18 age limit and can't wait until it's banned in pubs.

/Get off my lawn! :)

9:25 pm  
Anonymous Lou said...

Just don't expect us to believe that you're proposing to introduce higher prices to reduce alcohol consumption when you've recently introduced 24 hour pub licences.

10:00 pm  
Anonymous Skry said...

Perhaps they should consider raising the fines for people who sell alcohol to minors - a nice £10000 fine for an offlicense that sells to a 14 year old will stop them selling to minors very quickly.

Or maybe they could have some sort of a law for buying drink for minors and letting them drink outside of your own home. Granted, I think that buying for a minor is OK if they are a friend or family member and you're staying in, but buying for a kid that's going to hang around a street corner and get drunk is a whole different ballgame. If you can police a law for the supply of drugs (dealing) then surely you could extend it to cover alcohol as well...?

10:59 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's good good thing that alcohol never passed those angelic little adamson mouths until the day they hit 18.

4:32 am  
Anonymous Skry said...

I assume you mean 18 months? :D

10:26 pm  

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