Monday 2 March 2020

Minimum pricing begins in Wales

From today, it will be illegal to sell a unit of alcohol for less than 50p in Wales. Without the benefit of a computer model, I predict that there will be significant cross-border sales and that the Welsh government will blame the English when the policy fails to reduce alcohol-related deaths. They will join forces with the SNP in pressuring Westminster into 'following their lead'.

Wales Online has a half-decent article about minimum pricing which gives examples of all the popular drinks that suddenly became more expensive today. This is followed by the health minister Vaughan Gething claiming that:

'The minimum price won’t affect moderate drinkers...'

OK, Vaughan. If you say so.

It also quotes some nameless chump from Alcohol Change UK (neé Alcohol Concern) saying:

"If it becomes clear that MUP is increasing supermarket alcohol revenues, we will be calling for any additional profits to be channelled via taxation into services to support people with alcohol problems."

Consider for a moment how any of that would work. I guess you don't have to worry about practicalities or unintended consequences when you work for a tunnel-visioned, state-funded pressure group.

It also includes a quote from me:

The Institute for Economic affairs head of lifestyle economics, Christopher Snowdon, said: "Early evidence from Scotland suggests that minimum pricing has no impact on alcohol-related deaths and little, if any, impact on alcohol sales.

"Many Welsh residents will be able to avoid higher prices by doing their shopping on the English border.

"Those who drink excessively will continue to do so. The only winners will be supermarkets in Chester and Bristol.”

Prove me wrong.

No comments: