Monday, November 10, 2008

Quelle Shock, Not.

In a completely unsurprising move, a report by a group of MPs has called for the end of happy hours and a curb on supermarket's setting alcohol prices at a loss.
The Home Affairs select committee said reckless drinking was placing a heavy burden on police resources. One possible solution for England and Wales, MPs said, would be legislation setting a minimum price on alcohol. Scotland's new licensing laws already include powers to fix alcohol prices to stop cut-price promotions and happy hours, and ministers in Edinburgh say they might seek to set minimum prices for drink.
Interesting to note at this juncture that the bars in Westminster are subsidised. And you can still smoke in them. Unlike your local bar, that can now apply for reduced business rates (not that anyone actually told the bar owners, and the tax office initially turned them down) due to the smoking ban

Keith Vaz (a twat of some renown) chairman of the committee, said retailers must end a "pile it high, sell it cheap" culture around drink. He accused supermarkets of flouting the spirit of a voluntary code on alcohol sales.
"We cannot have, on one hand, a world of alcohol promotions for profit that fuels surges of crime and disorder and, on the other, the police diverting all their resources to cope with it," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"At the moment you have a situation where so much of police time is taken up dealing with alcohol related crime. Happy hours lead to unhappy communities. Loss leaders in supermarkets cause real misery to city centres on a Saturday night."
Couple of things there Vaz, you cunt, if the booze sold by supermarkets is being sold at a loss, then it's not going to be making them a profit, is it? Secondly, I would suspect that the majority of the booze sold by supermarkets is consumed at home, not in a city centre, particularly as it's now illegal to consume alcohol - or carry an open container of alcohol - on public transport.

Thirdly, and a point I've mentioned previously, it is illegal for supermarkets - or indeed any group of companies - to set prices among themselves. We have (or had at least) a veneer of competition in business. If I can sell something slightly cheaper than you can because I have economies of scale or a better business model, then I can and indeed *should* sell it cheaper than you do.

To force supermarkets to sell alcohol above a minimum price doesn't encourage them to improve their methods to lower prices for the consumer, does it? No, any improvement will only increase their profits and, as a Labour politician, you should be against that. It would also lead to an increase in the RPI, which will also look bad for you. You talentless fuckwit.

Still, don't let that worry you. Nanny knows best. A Home Office spokesman said: "We know the police and the public remain concerned about alcohol-related disorder. We have given the police, licensing authorities and trading standards officers a range of tough powers to tackle alcohol-related disorder, including on-the-spot fines, confiscating alcohol in public places and closing down premises that flout the law.

"Alongside this, the Department of Health has commissioned an independent review on the effects of alcohol price, promotion, consumption and harm which will be published shortly." And you can pretty much guarantee that report isn't going to be terribly positive, can't you?

You may be a smug non-smoker who happens to like a drink or two. You don't go into bars, yet you supported the smoking ban in there. You drink exclusively at home and you haven't once been arrested for causing a disturbance or public nuisance. And now you will feel the power of Nanny knowing best. Nanny doesn't want you drinking, so you will have to pay more for your booze than you previously did.

And there's nothing you can do about it. Except plan a revolution.

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