Wednesday 13 May 2015

That OECD report on booze

The OECD, a think tank, has produced a report on alcohol which has received worldwide news coverage. Funded by the European Commission, the report contains nothing new and much that is false. Its alcohol consumption stats for the UK bear no resemblance to the usually accepted figures and therefore don't inspire much confidence in the figures it gives for other countries.

The aim of the report appears to be promoting minimum pricing and advertising bans. The fat controller Martin McKee wrote a chapter on the former while Henry Saffer, who is virtually the only economist to have published research which concludes that advertising increases aggregate consumption, wrote a heavily self-referencing chapter on the latter.

It beggars belief that in 2015—after ten consecutive years in which alcohol consumption has declined—journalists still have the nerve to pretend that drinking is on the rise. Nick Triggle, the public health lobby's favourite BBC poodle, put out a report which claimed that alcohol consumption is higher than it was in the early 1990s and that youth drinking is "on the rise". Both claims are demonstrably untrue.

I've written a blog post about this nonsense for The Spectator so please do have a read.

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