Sunday, 15 March 2009

drinking on my soap box

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.


Elaine said...

That was brilliantly written...and very well said. I totally agree with you that it's not going to make one iota of difference to the heavy drinkers in today's society. But perhaps they are looking a little further ahhead? Perhaps their aim is to look after the next generation of possible problem drinkers?

I know one thing....skint or not, if I fancy a bottle of wine I HAVE a bottle of wine, lol.

Fire Byrd said...

Having had to deal with what I've had to over the weekend (see post!) nothing would have stopped what happened.
I agree with you the whole addiction thing has the government in a twist. If they asked me I'd tell them what they need to do,but then that's cause I listen to it every day from my clients and don't live in an ivory tower.

Dark Side said...

I know when I was younger we didn't think twice about paying extortionate prices in nightclubs for drinks so I can't see how the youngsters will buy less if it's more money either...oh and the Government have snowballed it it's the Chief Medical Officer that proposed it.

The Government haven't agreed because of the credit crunch..xx

MarmiteToasty said...

Hic hic HIC :)


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