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Alcohol tax rise – would it cut excessive drinking?

There is a news item on the BBC web site about the government being lobbied to increase Tax on alcohol for health reasons.

BBC News: Campaigners want alcohol tax rise.

I have posted a response on the web site. The website restricts to only 500 letters which is a bit short to really put a decent response. My post is listed below:

Firstly – to all the comments on this site that are suggesting this is government heavy handedness; this is from “24 leading health organisations”. This isn’t something that the government is suggesting, it’s something the government is being lobbied about.

I agree with the suggestion on advertising and health warnings, but not the increase in Tax. Raising the cost of alcohol is not going to drive down excessive drinking. If it was just about the cost then we’d already drink nothing but water.

The first thing that struck me, wasn’t about the suggestion, but how people have interpreted it in the comments. There are a lot of comments that refer to this as the government using this as an excuse to raise taxes, and for the government to control people. This is however nothing to do with the government. In fact the comments from the government are certainly not suggesting increasing taxation.

Are people not reading the story and jumping to conclusions, or do they really not know the difference between a lobby group and the government. I hope it’s not the latter, but I’m not convinced.

I hardly think adding 10% to the cost of a drink is going to make much difference to those drinking to excess. In a pub this will add about 20p to a pint, or at supermarket an addition 10p to a can. An increase that could even be absorbed (at supermarkets / off licenses) by opting for a cheaper brand.