Drinkers are to escape a new minimum price for alcohol after David Cameron was forced into a U-turn in the face of a revolt by most of the Cabinet.The whole point of minimum pricing is to go after the problem drinkers but has two fatal flaws:
Home Secretary Theresa May has led criticism of the Prime Minister’s proposal to ban the sale of alcohol at less than 45p a unit in England and Wales.
1. The problem drinkers will still drink. Either they will go without something else like food, brew their own hooch at home (apple juice, yeast, sugar, stick in the airing cupboard for a week), resort to stealing, or a combination thereof. Extra costs will not solve a drinking problem.
2. It hits the sensible drinkers and not just the poor ones. Check this out. It's Aldi's award winning Toro Loco at 12.5% alcohol and 9.4 units per bottle. It's a very drinkable red, goes nicely with a roast dinner, and astonishingly is only £3.59. It certainly isn't tramp juice but under minimum pricing plans it would be £4.23, an 18% increase.
That's not the end of it though. The price differential between budget and premium brands would undoubtedly have been maintained pushing the price of alcohol up for everyone.
Looking back on it, with no public support outside of the usual lobbying organisations and no plans to introduce it as a means to raise revenue, what on Earth was Cameron thinking?