Wednesday 18 March 2009

Nats get it right again!

The SNP has been advocating a range of measures to address Scotland's poor relationship with alcohol and the opposition parties have been falling over themselves to criticise (shame on them!) One of the aspects they criticise, saying that it would have no effect, is the proposal to institute minimum pricing.

"It won't work" scream the kids on the block "it'll just punish social drinkers without affecting problem drinkers. Well, tell it to the economists, including Tim Harford who has a wee piece referring to some other economists' work. He does fling a warning, right enough, but it's one that backs up the SNP policy of having a range of measures to combat problem drinking:
Yet Sir Liam doesn't suggest more tax on alcohol - he suggests supermarkets and off-licences put up prices and keep the profits, making it lucrative to flog cheap booze. Unable to compete on price, supermarkets could compete in other ways - for instance, offering freebies (sweets? football stickers?) with every bottle of strong cider. Making cheap booze a supermarket's most profitable product is likely to backfire, one way or another. After all, supermarkets respond to incentives too.


OchEye the News said...

Er No!

Scottish New Puritans are still in the brown stuff.

To try and legislate the prices of anthing, incl. booze is anti competitive and will bring down the wrath of the EU.

Apart from the failures of previous attempts to either ban or control prices of alcohol such as the Volstead Act in the US shows that as the legal market dries up, the illegal market takes over.

With a line of cocaine being cheaper than a pint of beer, where does the SNP think the youth and problem drinkers are going to get their supplies?

Making alcoholic products is increadibly easy, as any Higher chemistry student can advise.

Retaining a link where the price seems to be a reasonable bargain is the most difficult to do.

Look at the tax regimes on alcohol from Westminster for many years to see how they have trodden the thin line between being too cheap letting people get too drunk or expensive thus encouraging people to either make their own booze or source the stuff from illegal opportunists.

Calum Cashley said...

See what I mean?