Minimum Unit Pricing

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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby NoPunIn10Did » 27 Apr 2018, 05:02

sinnybee wrote: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.


Looking at it as per-unit profit? You're correct; it absolutely increases that measure. Looking at it as overall industry revenue and profit? That depends on more factors than any of us actually know.
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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby willie23 » 27 Apr 2018, 06:42

Is it really the Governemnt’s place to step into the economy and mess with prices and stuff? What about educating the public throughly on the dangers of over drinking alcohol...and if they wish to continue to destroy their own bodie’s then they can. Everyone has the right to do as they wish to themselves as long as it does not endanger other people or infringe on their own rights, and increasing the price on a product will not really stop the over consumption, it will only make things harder on the businesses and the poor. In the USA it is illegal to drive drunk, and that makes sense. But a minimum unit pricing seems like a solution that will not work. And from there, where does it go next?

At the same time, I am no economist. Am I missing something here? As far as Governemnt intervention in the business areas...I have always thought that the Governemnt should stay out of it.

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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby sinnybee » 27 Apr 2018, 07:34

NoPunIn10Did wrote:
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.

My argument is that there should be an increased tax (e.g. "10p-25p per unit") instead of a price floor of 50p per unit, so that there will be increased tax revenue. Why settle for something that "increases or decreases overall tax revenue" when we can have something that increases tax revenue?

NoPunIn10Did wrote: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.

Of course; for the third time now, it's worth disrupting free market policies to reduce health problems.
Though I usually don't like messing with the free market, it's worth doing so for medical purposes (which can lead to financial purposes).

NoPunIn10Did wrote:Looking at it as per-unit profit? You're correct; it absolutely increases that measure. Looking at it as overall industry revenue and profit? That depends on more factors than any of us actually know.

You're correct. I never implied anything to the contrary nor did I even bring up the subject of overall industry revenue and profit.
You strengthen my point--though there would very likely be some winners and some losers, we don't know the overall results that this minimum unit pricing would have on the industry. So, it doesn't serve any purpose other than to improve "overall public health through a percentage reduction in alcohol-related illness and accidents, [that] can hypothetically save the state money".
An increased tax would bring in tax revenue while also improving "overall public health through a percentage reduction in alcohol-related illness and accidents, [that] can hypothetically save the state money".
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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby Caladrius » 27 Apr 2018, 10:03

Oh no, the timing! I'm due at a wedding in Edinburgh next month.

May have to smuggle my own English booze across the border to make the event affordable :(

Seriously, I'm a fervent supporter of MUP. I do some voluntary work for a charity that aims to enable and improve the lives of disabled people and that too is a sector where alcohol consumption is a much higher than average problem.

Indeed one of the core elements of what we are trying achieve is to reduce the easy quick fix dependency that cheap alcohol provides. Everyone I know who's involved with this feels MUP would be a good start.

Price alone is not of course going to be enough - smoking has only been significantly reduced because of e-cigarettes and loss of social acceptance with bans in public places - but with everything subject to funding cuts now this is an attractive idea.

However there's a limit to how you can realistically effectively interfere in the free market process but surely not all the increase here is going to the supermarkets?

It's only likely to work if on a direct taxation basis with the money used to fund trying to tackle the underlying problems, although governments are never good at ring-fencing taxes to be used for the purpose they were ostensibly raised.

If even slightly successful in Scotland I would expect this to be eventually rolled out across the rest of the UK too so am following it all with interest.

Meanwhile, here's to maximising the free bar time at the wedding...
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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby Pootleflump » 27 Apr 2018, 10:52

The issue of raising tax from sales of alcohol is complicated by the British political system. Britain currently has a system of consolidated political power rather than federalism.

That means that whilst powers over things things like health and education are devolved to the Scottish Government, the power to set, raise and collect taxes still sits in London. Boooooo...... If Scotland had become independent as a result of the Scottish referendum a couple of years ago, it would have had the power to decide not only how to set, raise and collect tax, but how to distribute it and create a fairer, healthier society. It was a very close call.

What we have at the moment, is what's been termed, a Maggie Simpson Political System, where Scotland is governed by a political party (Tory Blue) it didn't vote for. Blue is Conservative, Yellow is the Scottish National Party, Red is the beleagured Labour Party.

maggie simpson map.jpg
maggie simpson map.jpg (9.62 KiB) Viewed 735 times


So yes, until the amount of tax can be set nationally, all the revenue goes to the vendor. It's like the environmental policy of charging 5p for carrier bags. None of that goes to tackling climate change. It all goes to the vendor.

I agree with the Scottish policy of minimum unit pricing of alcohol, just like I agreed with the smoking ban in public places (which is the single biggest factor in reducing the rates of smoking), and last year's ban on smoking in cars where children are passengers. For all the reasons Caladrius says above.

But the problem with all these macroscopic, legislative changes is that unless we address poverty and inequality, the more we pour into public health, the more we widen the gap. So yes, we have reduced the number of people who smoke, but not for the most vulnerable people in society. Rates of smoking and rates of alcohol abuse amongst disadvantaged groups have increased relative to affluent groups. Poor mental health and rates of suicide have increased. Rates of stigma and discrimination experienced by people with mental health problems have increased.

Welfare changes introduced by the Conservative Government in Westminster are having a devasating impact on the most vulnerable. It's difficult to have the head space or find the inner resources to stop smoking, eat healthily and exercise, or think about your alcohol consumption when buying food and keeping a roof over your head are a challenge. Our approach to public health needs to change to a compassion based model rather than a nanny state which simply charges more for 'bad things'. It's not working.

Some of this debate links to ducklings post on whether competition for children is healthy and prepares kids for a life based on competition, valuing being a winner and learning to cope with being a loser. https://www.playdiplomacy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=31&t=57715. Competition in itself is not bad where it is done in a supportive environment, but an environment which leads kids to envy winners and dismiss losers is not good. For lots of kids, school life is hard enough and a focus on co-operation (helping children to communicate effectively, to trust in others and to accept those who are different from themselves) is far more useful for later life.
Last edited by Pootleflump on 27 Apr 2018, 12:56, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby Don Juan of Austria » 27 Apr 2018, 11:39

"In everything, moderation". ~Aristotle
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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby Pootleflump » 27 Apr 2018, 12:29

Ha ha ha

EVERYONE should watch that video!! Brilliant.

We all voted SNP!!!

And look DJoA. Two big long posts, and I didn't mention the word ARSE once.....
But, I nearly forgot, you must close your eyes otherwise you won't see anything

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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby Don Juan of Austria » 27 Apr 2018, 14:24

Pootleflump wrote:Ha ha ha

EVERYONE should watch that video!! Brilliant.

We all voted SNP!!!

And look DJoA. Two big long posts, and I didn't mention the word ARSE once.....


Lol! :lol: I appreciate it!
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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby boldblade » 27 Apr 2018, 14:28

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


Truer words have not been spoken.
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Re: Minimum Unit Pricing

Postby Pootleflump » 27 Apr 2018, 15:40

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


Naw. Just a muckle sheep dip o' disinfectant to dicht they glaikit, clatty, Sassenach eedjits. ;)
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