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12-03-2010, 21:30
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If I mentioned every single demand by the anti-drink lobby for minimum alcohol pricing, this blog would contain little but. However, I couldn’t let pass without comment the call from the ten local authorities in Greater Manchester to introduce a county-wide scheme (http://www.messengernewspapers.co.uk/news/5047197.Unit_of_alcohol_to_cost_a_mimimum_of_50p/). Of course this doesn’t have a cat in hell’s chance of happening, but it’s a sad reflection on local voters that they can manage to elect such a bunch of miserable, snobbish killjoys. The massive queues for off-licences just across the border in other authorities would quickly bring such a scheme to an ignominious demise – and this would of course underline the “screw-the-poor” aspect of it, as it would be those without access to cars who were be forced to buy expensive booze locally.

Nick Grant, head of legal services at Sainsbury’s, hit the nail on the head (http://www.offlicencenews.co.uk/articles/80394/Minimum-price-means-illicit-trade-%E2%80%93-Sainsburys.aspx?categoryid=9059) when he said to the Scottish Parliament:

If you create a market for the man or woman in the white van you’re putting the sale of alcohol into the hands of people who have no corporate responsibility whatsoever.

You would find the white van in housing estates with strong lager at a compelling price.
And, of course, as the Filthy Smoker points out on the Devil’s Kitchen blog, minimum pricing is absolutely illegal (http://www.devilskitchen.me.uk/2010/03/minimum-pricingabsolutely-illegal.html) anyway under EU competition law, so all this talk about the subject is just so much hot air.

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