Sunday, January 10, 2010

UK Government Seeks Price Floors on Booze

Because drinking is bad for you it needs to cost you more. That's the government's latest push in the UK, the Economist reports.

And the pubs don't mind, because it would mean higher alcohol prices at the supermarkets, thereby raising the price of drinking at home:

“LIGHT, golden and refreshing”, proclaims the label on a plastic bottle of cider in Sainsbury’s supermarket. It is also fantastically cheap. Two litres of the sickly yellow tipple costs just £1.21 ($1.94), equivalent to 34p a pint. A stronger variety farther down the aisle gives customers a discount if they buy in bulk. At these prices, shoppers can buy enough booze to exceed the government’s recommended limits for little more than £3 a week.

A growing temperance movement seeks to end this bonanza. On January 8th the parliamentary health committee was due to publish a report demanding that the government introduce a minimum price for alcohol, to render such bargains illegal. Using research from Sheffield University, the committee argued that a floor of 40p for a 10ml unit of alcohol—enough to push the Sainsbury’s cider up to £3.36—would save 1,100 lives per year. A floor of 50p would save 3,000, it said. Medical associations and the police all want to see drink get more expensive too . . . .

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