Monday, July 09, 2007

Cameron Has NOT Accepted IDS'S Drinks Tax Proposals

Yesterday I didn't write about the ludicrous proposal in Iain Duncan Smith's report to put up taxes on alcohol. I wanted to find out what the status of these proposals were. To all those who have frothed at the mouth you should know that they have NOT been accepted by David Cameron, and I hope they won't be.


Like many of you, I am fed up with politicians whose knee jerk reaction to a problem is instinctively to suggest putting up taxes. There are often far better actions one can take. Adding a few pence to a pint of beer will do absolutely nothing to stop binge drinking, but it will of course provide extra tax revenues for the Treasury to squander.

Iain Duncan Smith's aim is to raise £400 million to build new drug and alcohol treatment centres, a laudable aim in itself, but quite achieveable without putting up taxes. For God's sake, we're Conservatives. We do not believe in putting up taxes. If one is serious about curbing binge drinking we could ban 'happy hours' or 'two for one' offers. At least these would address the problem, even if I might have sever reservations about interfering with a pub's right to run its own affairs.

Having been round a drug treatment centre with IDS in North Norfolk I know how passionate he is on this issue, and rightly so. But surely there are £400 million worth of government funds which can be reallocated without introducing further regressive taxation. To pretend that it will have any effect on binge drinking is patent nonsense given the disposable income of teenagers and twentysomethings noawadays.

IDS's report has made more than 200 suggestions and I hope the sensible ones won't be overshadowed by this one. His report is a fantastic piece of work and he should get a lot of credit for it.

121 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's all very well but yesterday the BBC was "spinning" this story for all they were worth and as you know any amount of denial etc subsequently does not remove the idea from peoples minds even though it may be wrong. A firm denial from Cameron, if he's against it, yesterday would have been much better than allowing the idea that "Tories raise taxes" muted in the BBC News headline to gain traction.

P.S.

The BBC is of course carrying no report re Ealing Southall defection s and it will be interesting to see how long they can hold out for.

Anonymous said...

Well said Iain.

Here in France, binge drinking is becoming a problem, but far less than it is in Britain. Indeed, it is in the countries where alcohol is most taxed that you get the highest incidence of underage drinking and drunkenness.

Why? Two reasons, first the high taxes force those who want to get drunk to seek strong drinks like White Lightening cider, Buckfast Wine or Vodka. Second, societies which tax drinks highly send out a signal that these drinks are "bad" and have to be taxed: in other words teenagers will want to consume them.

IDS is a clever guy, I'm surprised he fell into this trap.

david k said...

So why is the press management of the policy committees so weak that we have had introducing charges for museums and this weekend the headline on increasing drink taxes. Now when Cameron says not policy media and Labour will portray as a u-turn and fit into their narrative of Cameron as weak.

I am not sure which part is worse - the way people will believe this to be conservative policy or way it will be presented as a flip-flop when not accepted as policy.

Donal Blaney said...

Couldn't agree more. Why is it we can make pledges to increase taxes but not to cut them? Surely the same arguments as to not knowing what the economy will be alike apply to increasing taxes too?

Chuck Unsworth said...

Any report making 200 or so recommendations requires a great deal of reading before conclusions can be drawn. The pity is that the report was apparently not submitted to Cameron for approval prior to comments being made by IDS - or anyone else for that matter.

That's not very clever.

ken from glos said...

Dead easy, get rid of the Barnett formula, that would save billions!!

All done at one stroke.

judith said...

Iain, your reaction is spot on, and I will be buttonholing IDS on the 'increase in taxation' proposals at a small meeting next week.

Christina said...

Great post, Iain!

SamuelCoates said...

Couldn't agree more. Why is it we can make pledges to increase taxes but not to cut them?

Perhaps we'll see some significant tax breaks for married couples tomorrow though?

I like the "tax the bad, incentivise the good" approach, unfortunately for a day or so you can only see the former.

too much said...

Our Dave doesn't seem to have policies ,why is he trying to test the water with grammar schools ,museums ,drink,plane taxes,for crying out loud,every one to hit us plebs,I think our Dave has a death wish ,in not wanting to get the Conservatives elected ,just thought he did say he was heir to Blair ,so will he cross the floor to Labour ,at least we can try to find a new leader if he did.

tapestry said...

If alcoholism is successfully dealt with, national productivity will go up, and the costs to the NHS, Social Services and Police would fall. It would be self liquidating - pardon the pun.

At least we're getting the media. '7p On A Pint' is guaranteed to get noticed, while 'Obscure Policy Review Group Set Up By Conservatives in 2003 Thinks British Get Pissed Too Often' wouldn't even make the footnotes.

We've got their attention. Now deliver the message.

Roger Thornhill said...

If IDS did not want stupid ideas to overshadow the sensible ones, the trick is to NOT INCLUDE THEM IN THE REPORT!

IDS has just retained the tag "numbnuts".

Yes, the BBC is a vile mouthpiece of the Sociofascists, but why throw them bones to chew on?

Stonch said...

This policy is daft, but to be fair to the Tories they aren't the only party guilty of misdiagnosing

As a beer writer I have a particular interest in one type of alcoholic beverage (no prizes for guessing which).

If the political class are going to adopt the approach of taxing alchohol to combat binge drinking, may I respectfully suggest they choose they right target?

Beer is not the problem. Traditional pubs are not the problem.

If anything, the problem is cheap wine, alcopops, spirits couple with irresponsible landlord, off licenses and supermarkets.

Here's my own reaction to the Tory proposals:

http://stonch.blogspot.com/2007/07/massive-hike-in-beer-duty-proposed.html

Tom said...

I really hope Cameron steers well clear of this idea. As a university student, does IDS really think that students will refrain from the student union bar because their pint costs £1.80 instead of £1.70? It will really have no impact at all, except to hurt the public houses which serve to a sensible clientele.

machiavelli said...

It's a pity IDS didn't do A Level Economics - he's know all about the price elasticity of demand then (which is very low on alcohol - the reason why Government's put up taxes on it!)

Anonymous said...

So, drink is bad so let's tax it further. And what about Gambling? - 'No', the answer it seems is to create more Mafia run outlets.

Bizzare.

So why not let us legalise drugs, but keep them under control? That will deprive organised crime of its main income.

Or allow smoking in pubs that choose to allow it?

Exactly who sets them self up as their brothers' keeper in this society? Tony Blair? - He's gone. Gordon, the Manse, Brown? But he wants more gambling?

This whole topic is riddled with inconsistencies. IDS just seems to add to them.

labour are in power said...

Anonymous said...

That's all very well but yesterday the BBC was "spinning" this story for all they were worth

Try I.T.V. News, or Channel 4 news, or Sky News,or even Channel 5 news.I think if I am correct that gives your lot a 4 to 1 advantage.Seems about right.

we love gordon said...

judith said...

Iain, your reaction is spot on, and I will be buttonholing IDS on the 'increase in taxation' proposals at a small meeting next week.

Your a little name dropper you are Judith to be sure.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe that the Conservatives are genetic opposed to not putting taxes up. Anyone care to name any post war Government that has lowered the tax burden? All of them get in and hike taxes - that's what they do to fund their half-brained ideas.

That said I rather think IDS has come into his own while doing this review.

Anonymous said...

Of course, if drugs were legalised and taxed then no need for the extra tax on booze.

mitch said...

£400m is less than 0.1% of GDP. Is it really necessary to raise more taxes to find this money?

tapestry said...

Re taxes. information. The top rate of tax was 83% in the 1970's. On unearned income it was 98%. Corporation tax was 50%, now 30%. Dennis Healey said he would tax the rich until the pips squeaked. and he did. literally.

The Thatcher government slashed all kinds of taxes, hugely boosted growth and thereby revenues.

The same could be done again as income tax is now 65% - cleverly disguised by calling it 40% and pretending national insurance isn't a tax. If income tax was capped at 40% (including national insurance as it was under the Conservatives)this would hugely boost growth and revenues again as it did in the 1980's

Corporation Tax should be cut to 25% or maybe 20% as is being discussed by Cameron's Policy review teams, with similar effects. Right now many large companies are quitting the UK as we are too highly taxed. many wealthy individuals are also going into tax exile.

there is huge potential to reboost the economy, raise living standards, tax revenues and have money to spend on sensible projects.

Labour have wrecked the golden inheritance just as surely as they have always done. Their media management has enabled them to hide their incompetence for a while, but people know the country's in a mess with their own eyes. They don't believe the BBC and the media any more selling us on 'Gordon's a genius' when he clearly is very far from such a thing. the truth is he's blown it.

simon said...

This whole 'policy forum' thingy reeked of 'let's find someone something to do to keep 'em out of trouble'. Granted, it may bring forward some 'fabulous' policies- but i'm a bit of a cynic- hence sceptical. IDS's proposal IS another 'stealth tax' but one with a wholly laudible aim. But will it CURE the intended problem? Nope. Let's stop this anti-tax nonsence. Tax is essential, but it's WHAT taxes are spent on ( and how much various income brackets pay) is the point. IDS's proposal does not fall under the 'tax for the point of tax' category. Tax with aim- a worthwhile one -should not be shot down.

Observer said...

Alcohol Duties bring in £14,000,000,000 - why does IDS need a further £400 million. You would think alcohol was duty-free the way people talk........far better to close the bars in The Palace of Westminster and keep Lembit Opik sober

Stephen Newton said...

The great thing about Cameron's Tory party is that every time somone makes a policy proposal, they get shot down by their own side.

CCTV said...

Right now many large companies are quitting the UK as we are too highly taxed.

name them.....

Newmania said...

Well thank god for that, although tax on booze is a better way to go than destroying the pub as Labour have over smoking.
anon10.56 is right though this is not the way the story came out and somone has made the most frightening of cock ups here.

I don`t see what all the panic is about binge drinking. I daresay it looks unpleasant but I have a distinct feeling that this whole whine is more a symptom of the greying of the population especially the electorate than any real social concern.
Most people go through a phase of recreational enhancers nowadays . Why should they not ? They are the people paying the tax , doing the work , this their society ! the young already have an appalling deal on housijg tax dental care , University fees amd so on
Whay next, the "Do have a sensible haircut " legislation ?

Can`t we just leave it alone.

Great post on taxation Tapestry . G

The Hitch said...

For gods sake we are conservatives .....so lets ban "happy hour"
If people want to get drunk they will , price doesnt come into it for most consumers and why should poor people be socialy excluded from alcoholism?
The quiet man may like to consider why it is people want to get drunk.

Anonymous said...

So are the Tories planning to reverse the disastrous liberalisation of the licensing laws introduced by Labour, and which have helped contribute to this binge drinking problem ??

Anonymous said...

BBC carried a report about the defection on the 11 o'clock news, so the answer to the first question posed on this thread is, er, about 4 minutes...

j3b said...

The political naffness is a bit disheartening. But I would also like to take issue on the cannabis point. I estimate have smoked at least my own weight (about 200lbs) in cannabis over my lifetime, including Skunk and its US equivalent, B.C. Bud. From a one-parent start I took the grammar school ladder upwards and have since lived and worked for over 10 years in America. I was successful enough to be able to afford a decent house when I returned (that's usually the kicker) and, even at age 55, I soon had a well-paid job in the UK. ...And I vote.

eric the fish said...

It may come as an awful shock to you out of touch South East Tory toffs but it isn't only "teenagers and twentysomethings" who drink too much. We fish can speak with some authority about such things...

forthurst said...

There is a simple way of making pub drinking more expensive and less an ordeal or inducement to over-drinking:

Enforce waiter only service in all establishments with payment only on leaving and enforce seating of all customers,thereby making round drinking and overcrowding a thing of the past and ensuring higher costs for landlords.

Police would then have no difficulty visiting an establishment, detecting drunkenness.

The drinks industry are the culprits, making huge profits from destroying the health of young people.

Londoner said...

Spot on Iain. If the only tax policy is to put taxes UP - some of us really will start to have to look at the alternatives to the Tory Party (which I have been a member of for 32 years since I was a student).

Fortunately IDS is no longer leader and the present one is a lot brigher.

One subsidiary point - why should people who drink alcohol specifically finance illegal drug rehabilitation? It is very lazy thinking to connect the two. More logical to put a supplement on Uni tuition fees, and extra income tax on everyone under 25 - that would catch 95% of those using recreational illegal drugs, eh? (Don't worry this is not a serious recommendation - I commend it to the Lib Dems)

Ed said...

For God's sake, we're Conservatives. We do not believe in putting up taxes.

Sorry to sound negative, but are Conservatives instinctively in favour of banning things to reduce their prevalence? i.e. isn't it up to the individual pub to promote its products how it wants to (e.g. happy hours)?

The "solution" to binge drinking (even if you accept that the drinking itself is an issue rather than its occasionally violent consequences) is surely to allow people to take their own personal responsibility rather than nannying them into cutting down.

I can get completely hammered without causing a fight, so the only victim is my health, which I should be entirely free to damage at will. If other people get violent when drunk they should be locked up for being violent not for being drunk.

Anonymous said...

The Hitch said...

For gods sake we are conservatives .....so lets ban "happy hour"

Push off fatty,no room on this blog for the obese.Still eating those lard sandwiches ? Remember a bucket of grease a day will keep the doctor away,honest.

the labour party said...

Londoner said...

Spot on Iain. If the only tax policy is to put taxes UP - some of us really will start to have to look at the alternatives to the Tory Party

That would be us.

Jonathan Sheppard said...

I just dont accept the fact that alcohol is bad! Over indulging is - just as living solely on chocolate. Are we going to introduce a tax on chocolate bars along the lines of "tax the bad"? It's a very dangerous slope. We are already moving towards a traffic light system for foods - which would give fresh pinnaple chunks a red light for having too much natural sugar.

Social responsibilty is fine - but I want to hear a bit more about individual responsibility.

ten more years said...

eric the fish said...

Your my kind of blogger,brief and funny.Bet you vote Labour,am I right ?

Newmania said...

SAM COATES Said :

I like the "tax the bad, incentivise the good" approach, unfortunately for a day or so you can only see the former.

Who is to say which is good and which is bad ? There is a already a switch to cannabis on London amongst the middleclasses and to other drugs from drink for a variety of reasons. This may increase it . This fiscal carrot and stick arrogantly assumes it can drive society like a car.

Leave it alone. Its a Brown thing

the beeb said...

Anonymous said...

BBC carried a report about the defection on the 11 o'clock news, so the answer to the first question posed on this thread is, er, about 4 minutes..

A deathly silence.

chris said...

Might I suggest that the real problem is the growth in mega-pub-chains who operate the giant town centre booze halls. The best way to control binge drinking would be to insist that pubs are owned or effectively tenanted by private individuals who will loose their licence if they allow drinks to be served to drunks.

The problems with drunken yobs have got worse since Lord Young forced the breweries to sell off their well managed chains and a new breed of booze-entrepreneurs took them over.This is the un-conservative nature of liberal free-market policies.

Newmania said...

Ten More years .



Your my kind of blogger

(= Can I be your friend ..) ...

,brief and funny

(= I can read it and I can understand the hur hur joke hur hur )


.Bet you vote Labour,am I right ?

(= Oh please be my friend ,)


Sad

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

On the specific issue, roger thornhill [11.18 AM] has said it all: "If IDS did not want stupid ideas to overshadow the sensible ones, the trick is to NOT INCLUDE THEM IN THE REPORT!"

On the wider issue, Cameron should now forbid every member of the shadow cabinet, on pain of dismissal, from proposing ANY specific tax increases.

As to binge drinking (said to be on the increase) LOCK THEM UP.

Every police station in London used to lock up two or three drunks every night and bring them up before the court the following morning. I believe this policy was discontinued because it was thought that police officers had better (and less unpleasant) things to do with their time, such as completing racial awareness questionnaires.

Let's reinstate it, with a recommended fine for 'overnight drunks' of £100, (payable forthwith) with seven days' imprisonment in default of payment; all such to be properly recorded as CRIMINAL convictions.

Hollow Godric said...

If IDS really wants to raise taxes, how about a somewhat more focused approach:

Most binge-drinkers stick to the cheap lagers and alcopops, so raise the tax on them, but then lower tax on real ales and wines and other drinks that are less likely to attract bingers.

This might introduce people to alcoholic drinks that actually taste pleasant rather than the dubious taste of most cheap drinks, thus encourage people to drink for the pleasure of its taste rather than to get drunk. An added bonus is that it should boost the British ale industry.

Ed said...

As a complete aside - I often wonder why British brewers don't make lagers to compete with their continental rivals. It can't be that hard and they must be watching their market share fall as lagers get more popular. Have they no spirit of competitiveness or are they in denial?

Newmania said...

Most binge-drinkers stick to the cheap lagers and alcopops, so raise the tax on them, but then lower tax on real ales and wines and other drinks that are less likely to attract bingers


I see my suggestion that this was in fact just a lot of old fogeys getting their panties in a bunch about young people enjoying themselves is looking better all the time.

Would they ..perchance benefit from national service ?

Newmania said...

BTW Iain ...I see you allowed the C word. is this a change of policy...I `m lost...

pensioners rule said...

Newmania said...

Ten More years .

Your the sad fellow,you responded.Silly fellow,bless.

free booze for pensioners said...

Newmania said...

BTW Iain ...I see you allowed the C word. is this a change of policy...I `m lost...

It's the drink.

drink in moderation said...

Newmania said...

Most binge-drinkers stick to the cheap lagers and alcopops.

Don't forget the good old "home brew kits" a must for all serious drinkers.

disaster area said...

'Tony. It's Gordon. I'm locked in the toilet.'

Alastair Campbell's diaries provide immortal quote.


http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6283494.stm

Madasafish said...

ANY report with over 200 suggestions.. is a complete waste of time, money and space..

How can you summarise 200 suggestions on 2 sheets of A4- which is about the average attention span of an educated human ?

Answer: You can't. Most will be ignored.

I always thought IDS was a waste of space... he has confirmed it .. again.

As for leaking a contentious part before issue... Muppets continue to be muppets...

Colin D said...

It is perfectly obvious and rational to state that all the worlds ills are the responsibility of the BBC. aka(Blair, Brown, Campbell)."NOT to be confused with Bremner Bird & fortune". Likewise it is perfectly rational that a bunch of toffs are also going to redeem the world, even with the aid of a "failed" leader or two or more!
Where's Charlie Elphicke when you need him?

Anonymous said...

Would it be better if our youngsters sat around sipping wine or an occasional beer over a bit of intellectual conversation? Don't even think about it – how could we control a thinking population! Binge drinking, cigs, soaps, talent shows, big brother and excellent TV phone in quizzes – that keeps them from having dangerous thoughts!

sockpuppet said...

So are the Tories planning to reverse the disastrous liberalisation of the licensing laws introduced by Labour, and which have helped contribute to this binge drinking problem ??

think you'll find that incidents of alcohol-related crime dropped after the liberalisation of the licensing laws and drinking figures in the UK have been falling for the last two years. True, the overall trend over the last decade has been upwards - quite a lot upwards - but the Licensing Act was one of the few sensible things that NuLab have done.

And no, I'm a Tory, but credit where it's due. People who believe in a smaller state and personal freedom of choice should have been wholeheartedly behind legislation that allows you to buy a pint when you want one.

Anonymous said...

As usual the politician's have it completely wrong. What we need is to lower the tax on beer (Large volume, low alcohol content) and make it more desirable than cider/vodka etc.

What happened to the EEC/EU policy of harmonisation of tax and duties that was supposed to come into being fifteen or so years ago?

Also, close the pubs at 11.00pm which would reduce the 'tanking up at home' before going out on the town practice. Late night opening is a huge problem. Overconsumption, fighting, noise, police time etc.

I never see a bobby during the day but I can find up to adozen at 2.00pm sorting out the fighting drunks.

Colin D said...

Anonymous said... Oh anonymous, you are so 20th century. Bobbies have been replaced for a much more defective force. These new phenomenon are called "Parking attendants". They do sterling work.

Colin D said...

IDS is a clever guy, I'm surprised he fell into this trap.

July 09, 2007 10:57 AM
what does Clever mean in this context? no,no I will resist this temptation!!

John said...

From 400 proposals, that haven't either been adopted or ditched by the party yet, this hardly rates as newsworthy. It's an appaling distortion of the political debate by media commodification of news.

Iain, I thought you should have made it into the top 100 media types in the Guardo today. Sorry about that.

Yak40 said...

I believe the bingeing is a symptom, not a cause. There don't seem to be many values taught any more so irresponsibility thrives whether drinking, drugs, single parent kids and so on.

Raising the tax will have zero affect unless taken to ridiculous levels.

John said...

Oh, and I wonder if one of the effects of the smoking ban will actually be to reduce problems caused by drinking in pubs and clubs. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

"a drug treatment centre with IDS in North Norfolk "

was that middle bit its USP?

Anonymous said...

Scientists have just published groundbreaking research which shows that imbibing too much noxious substances makes one inclined to completely forget one's own real first name and to embark upon the risky process of stuffing a 'Duncan' in the middle of pronouncing your name, a procedure which could decimate the Conservative male ranks if it were to 'catch on'.

John Bennett said...

This is all so very depressing. When will people such as the BBC realise that the root of the problem is not us long suffering Pub Landlords but aggressive and irresponsible discounting by the supermarket chains. Under Section 141 Licensing Act 2003 it is an offence if a pub "sells or attempts to sell alcohol to a person who is drunk" with a £1,000 fine. Encouragement enough for responsible licencees to curb binge drinking. No such sanction is available against supermarkets etc who can happily sell £000s of cut price alcohol to an individual with not thought of the consequences.

Newmania said...

JOHN BENNET
the root of the problem is not us long suffering Pub Landlords

If I agree with you do I get a free drink or two .I was thinking a yard of alco-pop ?

CCTV said...

I often wonder why British brewers don't make lagers to compete with their continental rivals

Are you from Outer Space ?

Carling Black Label dates back to c. 1962 when Bass licensed a Canadian Carling brand

Heineken was brewed under licence by Whitbread as was Stella Srtois

Fosters was brewed in Courage facilities

Skol was brewed by Allied Lyons
which also brewed Castlemaine 4X

GrandMet brewed Holsten

Carlsberg had its own brewery in Northampton

S & N imports/owns Kronenbourg

Pubs round RAF Cranwell used to carry Bitburger

Greene King and Guinness used to have a JV brewing Harp

Anonymous said...

Anon 10.56

read the story on EU referendum about the political bias of the dutch public broadcaster. An excellent story

David Anthony said...

7p on a pint of beer? Oh dear, what ever shall I do!? My life is over!

I guess I'll just have to drown my sorrows ... oh wait...

If he seriously believes this then he should put a pound on a pint.

For God's sake, we're Conservatives. We do not believe in putting up taxes.

At least somebody still remember's this.

Geezer said...

Daft idea (from an electoral point of view), but the usual misrepresentation of Conservative "policy" by BBC. Anyone who says Cameron is obsessed with making the right headlines and media management, should clearly think again. They are making it very easy for the Guardianistas at the BBC to attack them.
Cameron should STOP giving the Labour toadies sticks to beat the Tories with. Nothing gets missed at Al Beeb and the NuLab media, when it comes to attacking the Conservatives. The BBC set their own agenda, they'll headline attacks on the Conservatives long before they criticise Brown's government. About time the Conservatives realised this.

Stonch said...

Ed said:

" As a complete aside - I often wonder why British brewers don't make lagers to compete with their continental rivals. It can't be that hard and they must be watching their market share fall as lagers get more popular. Have they no spirit of competitiveness or are they in denial? "

Most lager drunk in this country is brewed in Britain - the brand names may be foreign, but it's brewed under licensing agreements. For example, Wells & Young's - a real ale brewery - makes Red Stripe and Kirin in Bedford. The Stella you see in British pubs comes not from Belgium, but from Luton. There are exceptions - Heineken stopped brewing in Britain recently - but on the whole it's British brewed.

And in any case - the market share for real ale is in fact RISING.

Ethelred the Unhinged said...

First flights, then grammar schools and now booze.

They really are the Useless Tories, aren't they?

binbg crosby's stunt double said...

And while you're on the case, stop drink driving by putting up the fuel tax some more.

Edward said...

It's all about triangulation. Put ideas out there now which are controversial to allow Cameron to show his strength, leadership and conviction by taking the good ones and ruling out the bad ones.

Let's look at the long game, guys and gals.

Icarus said...

Stonch - Wrexham lager (with a playing card club symbol if I remember correctly) wasn't a great success.

The colder it was the better!

On topic these Conservative Policy Groups will continue to float daft ideas which the Conservative's opponents will hang round Cameron's neck - But it was his idea not to let the Conservative party develop its own policies!

Anonymous said...

Actually Iain, all the stats show that binge drinking IS directly related to the lowered price of alcohol so I think you should think again. This might be the one area were higher taxes would have a beneficial effect on the situation

Anonymous said...

I can feel a `Grammar School debacle` in the labour party workshop of misinformation. Of course some Tory twat will only add to it.

Pissed I am not. Pissed off I am.

Anonymous said...

Iain,
I'm glad Dave has squashed the booze tax idea, but it shouldn't have been flown in public in the first place.
Take IDS out and get him wrecked, then he will have first hand experience on the subject.
The Tories must learn to lighten up if they want to appeal to the masses.

Anonymous said...

Could binge drinking be related to the high sound levels in most clubs and pubs? If you cannot hear yourself think, let alone have a conversation with somebody else, then the only thing left is to drink yourself silly.

Anonymous said...

Increases in tax on alcohol have not kept pace with the increase in disposable incomes, so over the past decade or so people have had more money to spend on alocohol. It is not so much a tax increase as restoring it to what it was relative to income.

Binge drinking may well be a symptom and we need to treat the causes, but sometimes addressing symptoms can serve a purpose. How, though, do you tackle a culture that breeds mindless idiots?

Anonymous said...

These idiots think they can slow people boozing,having goverments tried to stop it for a few centuries ,how about the print with the baby falling out of it's gin sodden mothers arms,how about 11pm closing,started in the first world war.

PS 3 men have been fined for smoking in a Blackpool pub ,they won't fine the pub owner as he want's his time in court,how often has the cigarette taxes gone up in the last ten years,ans=every year,how often does booze go up ,nearly every year but whisky didn't in the last budget ,Scots chancellor.

Anonymous said...

Roger Thornhill said...

If IDS did not want stupid ideas to overshadow the sensible ones, the trick is to NOT INCLUDE THEM IN THE REPORT!


Well said, Roger

I cannot for the life of me understand what IDS thought this proposal might achieve or who - aside from a few, very small minority groups (...oh, right) - IDS thought this proposal might appeal to.

Does IDS have no grasp of how sick the majority of us are of

a. The nanny state
b. Tax as the universal 'solution'?

Auntie Flo'

Anonymous said...

David Anthony said...

7p on a pint of beer? Oh dear, what ever shall I do!? My life is over!


The amount of tax is
irrelevant. It's the adoption of the Brownite principle of constant and exponential tax increases used for social control that's repugnant.

Auntie Flo'

irritated drinker said...

Anonymous said...
Actually Iain, all the stats show that binge drinking IS directly related to the lowered price of alcohol so I think you should think again. This might be the one area were higher taxes would have a beneficial effect on the situation


I'm sorry anon, but that is untrue. As in wrong. Statistics from 2006 (latest collected) show that the highest rate of binge drinking as a proportion of all drinking occurs in Ireland, Britain, Finland and Denmark respectively (34%, 27%, 24% and 23% if you're interested).

Tax rates on alcohol are highest in Ireland (2.1 euros/75cl), then Finland (1.9) then the UK (1.8) then Sweden (1.6) then Denmark. Notice any correlation there?

Now I'll accept that you simply don't know what you're talking about but don't make unsubstantiated claims, eh?

CCTV said...

It is not so much a tax increase as restoring it to what it was relative to income.

but housing costs and energy costs and petrol costs HAVE outstripped incomes growth and since incomes have fallen relative to these prices the spending patterns of the public have been skewed towards mprtgages, utility bills and transport costs......

You cannot take one item from the range of items people buy and decide to artificially distort its priing because it has not increased in price as fast as other items...that is perverse and institutionalises Inflation

canvas said...

It was so obvious this tax would never happen :)

Trumpeter Lanfried said...

Taxes should be used to raise revenue for essential expenditure on items such as the armed forces and the drains. They should be not be used for social engineering.

Nor should general taxes ever be hypothecated for particular objectives.

bo5n1a said...

I think you're being a bit harsh on the man. A tax raised on consumption could be offset by reducing a tax on income.

I always thought that Conservatives were about 'conserving' the social order of things. Given the havoc wrecked by alcohol on the disaffected youth, on that interpretation I know exactly where IDS is coming from. Exponentially high taxes on the alcopops and foreign beers, with moderate taxes on the Great British Pint and Traditional wine. Don't know what to do about scrumpy though.....

Anonymous said...

Why doesnt the Conservative Party revert back to the Old Opening/ Closing times. In my opinion it has caused people to drink more 24/7. All you are doing is Victimising us Pensioners on lower incomes increasing the tax!

Also I feel it will have little effect, increasing taxes; because of the Undemocratic Smoking Ban! Which is unjustified!

Johnny Norfolk said...

If IDS has been going around with his proposals before they have been aproved it just shows the party out of control.

It shows a weak leader allowing this to happen,

What the country wants to know is firm outline policies, at the moement the party is just shooting itself in the foot. Cameron says nothing as he has nothing of significance to say. Wet & weak is my assesment of Cameron who needs to look into the real world.

Anonymous said...

200 proposals. Sounds like you are trying to cover every base, without actually commiting to any. All a bit wooley. This is only one of many commissions. so come manifesto will there be 2000 proposals. Beginning to sound like foot style suicide list. or could it be cambo double facing AGAIN

Anonymous said...

I have a £50 a day heroin addiction, and I drink 2 litres of White lightning each evening. I now realise that if I get married all my problems will be resolved.

verity said...

You're all wimps except Trumpeter Lanfried.

You have allowed your priorities to become deflected, infused with lefty propaganda and weakened.

Adrian Yalland said...

Iain, we are Tories. we should be against puting up taxes! But we should also be against banning things too.

If people/companies/pubs and the drinks business wish to 'fuel' binge drinking by offering two-for-one deals, it isn'e the role of Government to ban it!

However, it is the role of Government to educate and inform, and to empower local communities to come to their own conclusions about how to tackle probem drinking.

A good start would be getting policemen off form filling duty and onto the streets to nab, fine and prosecute those who insist on getting pised, picking a fight or puking in the street.

A few well publicised prosecutions with a few hefty fines will soon start getting people's notice!

You won;t encourage sensible drinking by taxing it or banning it! Those who insist on acting irresponsibly will do so regardless. You need to take them out of circulation.

Cynic said...

Anonymous said...

I have a £50 a day heroin addiction, and I drink 2 litres of White lightning each evening. I now realise that if I get married all my problems will be resolved.



You are correct...the threat of divorce and penury will keep you sober and drug-free as you think of your trust fund

Anonymous said...

The problem with increasing taxes on drink is that it is unlikely to stop binge drinking on a Friday/Saturday night.

The most likely outcome of an increase in alcohol tax is a reduction in profits of the drink manufacturers brewers and distillers) who will be forced to absorb the cost increase by the very powerful restaurant/pub groups.

The problem of binge drinking is at the distribution end of the process. Many restaurant/pub operators are being responsible and policing the consumption of alcohol on their premises but a few are not. Happy hours, promotions, etc. are all a symptom of this race to the bottom.

The only way to deal with it is by stronger regulatory and licensing powers in areas where binge drinking is a problem.

CCTV said...

The most likely outcome of an increase in alcohol tax is a reduction in profits of the drink manufacturers brewers and distillers) who will be forced to absorb the cost increase by the very powerful restaurant/pub groups.

I doubt the distillers will - it is a puny increment on the 80% tax levied on 38% spirits anyway.....restaurants have so much mark-up on wines and spirits that noone would notice....I hardly think it will have much effect when a lot of these groups that go on the town tank up cheaply at home before they go clubbing to save money.......making bottles of supermarket wine cost £40/bottle and vodka at say £120/bottle might cut it down but inflation would then have the RPI at 10% or so and other problems would arise......why not take 17.5% VAT off condoms while you're at it ?

Richard Patient said...

The problem with making booze more expensive is that you make THE FAMILIES of alcoholics poorer.

Unfortunately, alcolism is a disease, and won't be solved by putting a bit of extra tax on booze.

Anonymous said...

Is this a canny staged fight with IDS to make Cameron more appealing to the right.

Hardatwork said...

Richard Patient said...
"The problem with making booze more expensive is that you make THE FAMILIES of alcoholics poorer.

Unfortunately, alcolism is a disease, and won't be solved by putting a bit of extra tax on booze. "

Spot on. The drinking carries on. The treasury gets the kids' lunch money.

machiavelli said...

Cameron would do well to reject this policy, and do so loudly. Making alcohol more expensive is an effort at tackling the symptom not the illness, and it's a forlorn one at that.

By rejecting this proposal Cameron can show that he's both sensible and that he's on the side of normal people who want to be able to enjoy a drink without being penalised for the behaviour of a rowdy minority.

Mind you, I never did think giving one of the policy commissions to IDS, the man uniquely skilled at losing as many votes as possible in a short a time imaginable, was a particularly good idea...

Anonymous said...

Why not bring in prohibition? Idiots! If you take away a national pastime that has existed in northern Europe since year dot; what I ask are you going to replace it with? Modern psychotherapy knows full well that if you take a choice away you must repalce it with a better alternative. Otherwise this policy may create more heroin addicts and puff heads. Think Tories think!!! On top of this it would merely be another price rise on ordinary peoples' budgets. We are entering the beginning of a hyper-inflatinary epoch. Do you think anyone will seriously vote for this measure? We are Tories not Puritans!

mister scruff said...

lets face it Iain. Out of 200 proposals, the BBC picked out the beer tax rise. A PR disaster.

somebody really needs to knock some heads together.

after the headlines and BBC spin, Joe Public now has the impression that the Tories are a tax-rising party.

the Tories need to come up with something seriously radical (like flat taxes) and fast.

mister scruff said...

"name them.....

July 09, 2007 11:59 AM "

Amazon.com

moved from Slough to Cork in Ireland.

mister scruff said...

"name them.....

July 09, 2007 11:59 AM "

Microsoft. European corporate HQ is in Dublin, not London. Offices in Britain are merely classed as "sales and marketing".
As a result all Microsoft UK profits flow to Dublin.

Anonymous said...

...Anonymous said...

I have a £50 a day heroin addiction, and I drink 2 litres of White lightning each evening. I now realise that if I get married all my problems will be resolved.

...to which Cynic said...

You are correct...the threat of divorce and penury will keep you sober and drug-free as you think of your trust fund

July 10, 2007 5:57 AM

...and I say,

oh my god you do actually believe that marriage will solve all ills...YOU COULDNT MAKE IT UP.

Jimbo said...

All the cohabitating couples will get married to qualify for the tax break, and the Tories £6bn costing for the policy will rise 10 fold. More hilarious, this is supposed to be a policy release regarding social break down. Throwing 20 quid at married couples is hardly going to address any of society’s problems; in fact it will only cause resentment between the married and unmarried. I thought the Tories were supposed to be against the nanny state !!

Anonymous said...

Britain’s population is mix of people from different backgrounds, beliefs and cultures. GET MARRIED OR ELSE; hardly progressive liberal conservatism. This is Neo Conservatism in the style of mid America bible bashing. A drug addicted alcoholic is not going to change their ways by holding a married certificate. This is a proposal to satiate the blue rinse neo cons in Cameron’s ranks.

Wiggy said...

I’m starting to think that the Tories hate Britain and all its population. We are all seemingly drug addicted, alcoholic, binge drinking, promiscuous, violent yobs, who come from dysfunctional broken homes in a doomsday broken society. This is not the Britain I recognize.

Jimbo said...

Another proposal is to give ASBO kids free concert tickets something that the Daily Mailers will pretend to ignore

Anonymous said...

Iain, judging from IDS's comments today, it would appear that this post was just pure SPIN on your part.

Anonymous said...

A child does not pick it's parents, their marital status or their financial position.

Surely the money should follow the child.

Flamepants said...

Everywhere in the world you'll have neighbour who gets more drunk than you. In St Petersberg, for instance we know the Estonians merely as 'our four legged friends'.

You British should not tax all the friendly and mature drinkers, but instead: issue everyone without criminal record and over 30 with a tazer, to keep the stupid kids calm.

Jimthechimp said...

IDS' recommendations have patrician Toryism running through them. Posh people have always wrung their hands over poorer folk having fun on drink and drugs

But if you're an Etonian member of the Bullingdon Club, it's OK: you can get as pissed as you like.

Anonymous said...

I suggest everyone should read the document. It is a suicide list of ridicules promises. When you get to the end he is virtually promising free ice cream to kids under the age of 6 if they have 2 parents living at the same address with documented evidence and a DNA profile to validate the Childs ancestry.

When it comes to manifesto time, all the dropped proposal will be a gift to opposition party’s.

Giving head teachers in poorer areas 25% pay rise, and 50% bonuses. This will mean a head of a comprehensive in an inner city potentially earning £200,000 P/A. There are 1000s of schools that would fall into this bracket costing the exchequer 100,s of millions. And that is only one of the numerous uncosted proposals.

The list would cost 100’s of billions, and we have yet to hear the commissions on Health Education, security, etc etc etc. I think today could turn out to be a Michael Foot moment.

Jimbo said...

Make voluntary work part of the school curriculum and reward children who undertake community work with pop concert tickets

CRINGE CRINGE CRINGE.. What if they want to go to the Opera instead

Anonymous said...

Fourteen-year-olds would be asked to design social action
projects and then vote to decide the most worthwhile. The whole class would then be required to put their project into action.

Honestly check it out on the Tory website. This is the sort of drivel that IDS has come up with

Anonymous said...

Interesting this, Debbie Scott the Deputy Chairman of the Social Justice Policy Group which IDS is heading, has another job as the Chief Executive of the employment charitable trust called “Tomorrow People”. Tomorrow people was set up back in 1984 and was, and is still funded by Diageo the British multinational alcohol company.

In a Guardian interview in 2005 Debbie said “Tomorrow's People owes its excellence to Diageo plc, which founded the organisation. Diageo helped me to understand how they operate at the highest level, and Tomorrow's People has sought to emulate this”.


The Hypocrisy is amazing, the Policy 2nd in command has links to the booze industry, yet the policy group is blaming all societies ills on booze.

tapestry said...

It's important to be getting media. discussing policy openly gets media big time whether it's acrimonious discussion as with grammar schools or tranquil discussion as on the IDS proposals.

now we have the attention of the media, we can move towards the policy we want. If we have to toy with 7p on a pint to get noticed, then that's fine. It seems to grab the male members of the community by the proverbials, suggesting 1p on beer let alone 7!

Anonymous said...

No one appears to have discussed the distinction to be drawn between binge drinking and alcoholism. They may indeed be related but they are not synonymous. Some people go out on Friday or Saturday to get blind drunk, some have an addiction to alcohol and consume it daily: each is a problem but each needs addressing in different ways.

Cinnamon said...

IDS has a lot of 'ideas' but doesn't think the consequences through and does not do proper research either and so comes up with too many silly clangers which would do more harm than good if they were implemented.

7p on beer is silly since it isn't beer but sweet alcohol pops that cause much of the problems, besides that, who cares about that tiny an amount anyway?