Minimum Unit Pricing

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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby Don Juan of Austria » 27 Apr 2018, 00:10

I'd say, do it. I'd also go farther then just increase the price...But that's still my opinion. Here in South Africa, 58% of road deaths can be attributed to Alcohol according to the WHO.... Which isn't even all the accidents that happen, just the fatalities.
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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby V » 27 Apr 2018, 00:19

I see little has changed in South Africa then, since I left in 94. We used to joke it was a national sport, following the loss of the Kyalami GP.
I remember if headlights approached on the “wrong” side of the road at night, you instinctively slowed & eased towards the nearside, even if they were hundreds of yards away. There was every chance the drunk fool inviting a head on would never realise in time to regain their own lane!
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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby sinnybee » 27 Apr 2018, 00:21

Doing nothing is a poor choice, instilling a minimum unit price is a bit better, and an even better choice would be an increased tax on alcohol. It would possibly be even more ideal to target the tax more, as Woolfie suggested, by allowing those under doctors orders to be able to avoid the tax, but that system could be abused and could cause more trouble than it's worth.

While I'm not necessarily arguing the specifics, the increased tax on alcohol could perhaps be 10p-25p per unit, so that the lowest priced options are still adjusted enough to have a large impact on saving lives and reducing hospital admissions, so that the lowest priced options are still affected the most percentage-wise, but so that there is a wide-spread and equal adjustment made instead of artificially adjusting the price of the lowest priced options by such a huge amount. A "3 litre bottle of cider for £3.99, the equivalent of 18p per unit" instead sold at 50p per unit or over £11 for a 3 litre bottle, would be a price increase of 178%, to nearly triple the price, which will send major ripples through the economy of alcohol sales. For example, as NoPun said, it would at least partially "drive out low-quality competitors". A tax (increase) of 10p-25p per unit would instead give a price increase of less than 56% to 139% for the same 3 litre bottle of cider.

Minimum unit pricing would reduce alcohol sales, yes, but it would also increase profits on alcohol that is sold.
Of the producers, in the short term, the minimum unit price of 50p per unit will most benefit those making products that currently sell for about 50p per unit (who have a satisfactory inventory), since consumers are much more likely to pay 50p per unit for alcohol that used to be 50p per unit than they are to pay 50p per unit for alcohol that used to be 18p per unit.

Anyway, the bottom line is that there should be satisfactory taxes (though not high enough to introduce much if any of a black market). If a market is going to be less free and more artificial so as to reduce health problems (as I personally think is worth doing), it should be done while actually increasing tax revenue, so that government spending can increase (possibly relating to health issues) and/or other taxes can be lowered and/or to promote a better budget surplus or a lower budget deficit.
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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 27 Apr 2018, 00:53

V wrote:Theft is primarily illegal, because governments don’t appreciate competition:-)

A more serious comment. I don’t think this change has any chance of improving any aspect of alcohol abuse. Drug abuse is a challenging issue best addressed by medical professionals (not legislators, not law enforcement officers, not courtrooms, not correctional institution staff, or now apparently excise employees). It might take a while before this is generally accepted as the truth, but it’s still true already.


What if it was the medical professionals who told the politicians to raise the minimum price?
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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby V » 27 Apr 2018, 01:18

What if it was the medical professionals who told the politicians to raise the minimum price?

I’d buy into the “reasonableness” of this particular tax more than most, under those circumstances. Was it? Or just the money grabbing politicians as usual?
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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby sinnybee » 27 Apr 2018, 01:27

V wrote:What if it was the medical professionals who told the politicians to raise the minimum price?

I’d buy into the “reasonableness” of this particular tax more than most, under those circumstances. Was it? Or just the money grabbing politicians as usual?

Minimum unit pricing is not a tax, it's a price floor--it doesn't provide any tax revenue.
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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby V » 27 Apr 2018, 01:33

Minimum unit pricing is not a tax, it's a price floor--it doesn't provide any tax revenue.

Not sure which “jurisdiction” it would fall under, but wouldn’t that count as “restraint of trade”. I doubt any organisation would pursue it with the EU Court of Human Rights, but it sounds more than dodgy. An interesting test case maybe.
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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby sinnybee » 27 Apr 2018, 01:51

V wrote:Not sure which “jurisdiction” it would fall under, but wouldn’t that count as “restraint of trade”. I doubt any organisation would pursue it with the EU Court of Human Rights, but it sounds more than dodgy. An interesting test case maybe.

It's completely stupid.
It's throwing away money.
sinnybee wrote:If a market is going to be less free and more artificial so as to reduce health problems (as I personally think is worth doing), it should be done while actually increasing tax revenue, so that government spending can increase (possibly relating to health issues) and/or other taxes can be lowered and/or to promote a better budget surplus or a lower budget deficit.
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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby V » 27 Apr 2018, 01:52

I answered my own question, it would appear the legal profession decided it is not a restraint of trade under EU law. See below;

But finally, after five long years, the UK Supreme Court ruled those laws could now be enacted.

Lord Mance read out the court's decision, stating the, "2012 Act does not breach EU law".

"Minimum pricing is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim,"

Gonna be tricky to enforce, when England is a short drive away! No customs border at Hadrian’s Wall (yet?)
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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 27 Apr 2018, 04:58

sinnybee wrote:Minimum unit pricing is not a tax, it's a price floor--it doesn't provide any tax revenue.


It provides higher VAT revenue per unit, but whether it increases or decreases overall tax revenue really depends on the elasticity of demand for the product.

However, if it improves overall public health through a percentage reduction in alcohol-related illness and accidents, then it can hypothetically save the state money.
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