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Wednesday, June 02, 2010


I want to comment on the idea of establishing minimum pricing for alcohol. I used to drink (including binge drinking) for a number of years. I have not had a taste of alcohol since 1990 due to the destruction it caused in my own life. So this is the background I am coming from when I make the following suggestion:

According to a study I read a study a few years ago (National Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy Statement: Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit Mar 2004), heavy drinking in the UK cost £12 billion a year.

Would it be possible and appropriate to tax alcohol with a specific tax that would recover this £12 billion each year? In doing so, only those who consume alcohol and those with the potential to cause loss of life, physical and mental problems, and other associated costs would bear the tax burden.

According to the UK Institute of Alcohol Studies, in 2008 total alcohol sales equalled 5.7 million hectolitres or 570 million litres.

Simple math would indicate that if the minimum pricing/tax was designed to recover 100% of the costs associated with heavy drinking, then each litre of alcohol would need to be taxed £21. Sadly, the tax would be about £12 per pint.

Drastic problems call for drastic measures.

L Rose
Inverness, Scotland

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