In the media they have been talking about government plans to introduce minimum prices for alcohol. I can understand the idea behind this is to cut binge drinking in England.
Personally I don't agree with this idea. The theory is good but theories like this don't work when applied to humans. The idea that if alcohol costs more then binge drinkers will drink less is very good as a theory. In practice it will only work on those who don't drink heavily. Those of us who are light drinkers will probably drink less especially in this current economic climate. This will result in pubs losing business and many will close. Presently the UK sees 22 pubs close every week. In my own neighboorhood I know of several that have closed and even been knocked down in the last few years.
The group of drinkers that the government is trying to target will not stop drinking because the price has gone up. They will probably moan about the new prices. They might even declare that they will drink less because of it. But the reality is that they drink because they have a chemical imbalance in their bodies, they can't function without the alcohol. These people will still drink the same quantities of alcohol, they will still be a burden on our health and police systems. What they will do is buy the alcohol even though it costs them more but to pay for the increase they will reduce what they spend on other things, clothes, food, utility bills, perhaps even their mortgage/rent.
Those who will be affected the most by the increased prices are the long suffering families of the heavy drinkers. The families who will be left with even less money to manage on. The mothers who can't buy clothes or food for their children, the families who have to wear a coat to bed because they can't afford to heat their home.
The government is trying to treat the illness of alcoholism the same way it treats obesity from the wrong end. Instead of stopping people from eating or drinking by way of taxes or threats they should be tackling the problems that cause these illnesses in the first place. I don't have all the answers to the problems we as a society have, if I did I would be a politician, but I do know that these current proposals are wrong.
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