Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Do As We Say, Not As We Do

Yesterday was the last day of term for MPs, who are now on their annual Summer holidays for a spectacular 76 days. If you thought teachers had a long holiday, try becoming an MP! Not only do you get paid so much more for doing so much less, you also get the opportunity to be a truly hypocritical bastard.

While coming out in droves to announce that there will be a clampdown on the alcohol industry and a forced end to "happy hours", MPs themselves enjoy the types of bar prices that the rest of us can only dream about. Oh, and they can also smoke while getting hammered at our expense, so that surely makes the whole thing more enjoyable, eh?

Compare this press release from ALMR that has uncovered hidden statistics which show the House of Commons Refreshment Department operated on a subsidy of £5.5 million of taxpayers’ money in the 2007/08 financial year, equivalent to total annual tax receipts from 35 pubs. When you've finished reeling in horror from that little statistic, check out the following:
Given the level of subsidy, it is unsurprising that MPs can enjoy much cheaper drinks than their constituents. A pint of Foster’s in Stranger’s Bar costs £2.10, compared with a national average of £2.80 (33% higher) and a London average of around £3.00 (43% higher). A House of Commons 8-year-old Scotch costs £1.35, while our politicians can enjoy a Pimm’s on the Thames-side terrace for just £1.65.
With the following report on the BBC which says Ministers have told the drinks industry to act more responsibly or face new laws governing alcohol sales.
Interim findings (of the government's review of the impact of pricing on alcohol consumption by Sheffield University) published to coincide with the consultation suggested cheap prices encouraged increased consumption in the young and heavy drinkers.

Professor Ian Gilmore, president of the Royal College of Physicians and chairman of the UK Alcohol Health Alliance, pointed out one in four adults is drinking more than the recommended daily amount.

"This is not just something affecting a small minority, it is not about the binge-drinking culture, it is affecting a large part of society. If we don't get to grips with it, it will have serious health repercussions.

"The key to tackling this is price. Alcohol is too cheap and that has driven up consumption."
Which does tend to support the ALMR press release which says:
The subsidy, not published in the House of Commons’ Annual Accounts, was £693,000 higher than in 2006/07, a 15% increase.
So despite (or perhaps because of) the low prices, the Houses of Parliament subsidy has increased in the past year. Yet these bastards are demanding an end to cheap booze in pubs and supermarkets!

Utter cunts.

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