Monday, 17 October 2011
The government reviewed alcohol taxation policy late last year, inviting interested parties to attend discussions at the Treasury and to submit reports accordingly. We were asked what tweaks might be made that would result in lower levels of alcohol abuse.
The BBPA publish a statistical handbook each year which details all kinds of facts and figures. OK, it isn't entirely independent but it must remain credible or it's a waste of resources. So they don't publish bull shit. My mate Wicksie, a man who likes playing with figures, extracted the following:
Data: Since 1997 consumption in litres per head
Beer down 28%
Cider up 60%
Wine up 39%
Spirits up 21%
You'll note that beer, the lowest strength alcoholic drink, is in sharp decline whilst stronger drink consumption is growing er, strongly. So, after consultation, what did the government come up with? High Strength Beer Duty (HSBD). Yup, tax the hell out of Tennants Stupid and don't worry about collateral damage. So beer at 9% abv is now taxed at a higher rate than a 15% wine.
Justine Greening MP, recent incumbent in the Treasury, tells me she doesn't want to penalise the majority of (responsible) drinkers, ie, those fetching bottles of wine from the supermarkets in middle England, returning home to pass out on the couch, far from the Sunday newspaper photographers.
I think this is a class issue and that the government know full well what must be done, but are unwilling to do it.
Meanwhile the poor die. And our indigenous manufacturing industry that is brewing, together with the retail arm that is the pub trade, employing a million people in the UK, is collapsing. My MP doesn't seem to get it, does yours?