An interesting proposal, this one: the idea that setting the price of a unit of alcohol at 40p per unit will somehow deter the binge drinkers is completely risible. And the evidence that pricing affects consumption is not unchallenged, unless it reaches the point where it is no longer affordable.
So, what is the real reason behind this policy proposal? Well, the first is to play to the gallery, of course, without actually addressing the problem. Cameron likes to be seen as a man of action and the opinion in the Daily Mail and its ilk is always something high on his agenda. So, they – the Tories – present a policy that looks like it is doing something, but it isn##Q##t really – because they do not really care if a load of working class yobs drink themselves stupid every weekend. They make noises about city centres being no-go areas on weekends, but what do they care? They’re off in the country consorting with their aristocratic and Nuevo-crim friends.
The other, and possibly the more salient reason, is revealed in the mechanism by which the Tories will enforce this. Is it a tax? No, it##Q##s a price increase. So, nothing will be taken from this by the Exchequer that could be turned to useful purposes like alcohol education in schools. So, who will benefit from the price increase? Ultimately, it will be the supermarkets, or the brewers, who will see little in the way of reduced consumption, but will benefit substantially from competition being removed from one market segment with prices being held artificially high.
This is a government sanctioned cartel dressed up in a Public Health policy initiative. It##Q##s brilliant: rip off Britain gets reinforced by the back door. Christ, it##Q##s better than brilliant, it##Q##s genius. We have moved on from stealth taxes which are then used to fund the profits of private businesses to Government directly forcing consumers to pay more than the market would normally sustain.