The problem with minimum alcohol pricing

The problem with minimum alcohol pricing

Australia’s not the only country looking to ban affordable alcohol, the UK government is looking at the same thing, and this blog post is well worth a read in full:

Minimum Unit Pricing is probably the most regressive, illiberal, and outright snobbish policy being debated by parliament today, yet it enjoys near universal political support from the NUS and the Labour party on the left, to the Tories on the right. The problem is, the support is based on junk science, state-funded lobbying and outright prejudice against the poorest…

The policy is also highly regressive, squeezing the pay packets of the poorest in our society and increasing inequality. As the wealthy and middle classes tend to buy alcohol that is already above the minimum price, this policy won’t affect them. The poorest however will be forced to either cutback on the drink or on spending elsewhere.

Economic analysis suggests that alcohol consumption is unresponsive to price changes; a 50% increase in the cost of cider won’t lead to a 50% fall in consumption. This means less money for keeping the heating on, cooking healthy food, and buying schoolbooks. The regressive nature of the policy could have the unintended consequence of harming public health…

Adults should be free to pursue their own happiness in whatever way they choose provided they do not burden others unfairly. Minimum Unit Pricing restricts your ability to do that, because the modern-day temperance lobby believes you’re making the wrong choice. The idea that the poor can’t decide what is best for themselves is a Victorian attitude that’s sadly back in fashion…

To impose legislation that restricts choice like this represents a fundamental failure to treat people as equals. Suggesting that some people have less of a right to consume what they want should offend our liberal values, doubly so because of its basis in class. Minimum Unit Pricing won’t make the public healthier; it won’t help pubs and it won’t save the public money. It will make the poorest poorer and boost the illegal trade. It should be last orders for the nanny state.

Click here to read the whole thing and HERE to join our campaign against the supertax.

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