Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Edited By An Elephant

I was initially going to ignore this report in the Telegraph because it is going over very old ground regarding minimum pricing on alcohol. We've been here many times before, not least nearly a year ago when the coalition 'pretended' they had in fact introduced such a ban:

It's like the 2010 election never happened and Labour are still in power.

But what caught my eye was that the Telegraph, who never mention the EU at all when it comes to this issue, almost fall over themselves pointing out that very elephant in the room:
The Business Department has warned that forcing firms to charge a minimum price could be illegal under European law. Andrew Lansley, the Health Secretary, favours a voluntary approach, but he has been overruled by Mr Cameron, although the compulsory scheme might fall foul of government lawyers.
A Whitehall source said: “The Prime Minister has decided that when it comes to alcohol, something pretty radical now has to be done and he is keen on the minimum price. It is complicated how this can be delivered, particularly under European law...
European law is complicated and minimum prices are only likely to be allowed if the authorities can demonstrate that they are tackling a major health problem without undermining competition.
Historically, governments have been reluctant to look at minimum pricing because of concerns about the legality of the move...
What's going on? I can only assume that the regular Telegraph staff have gone on holiday for Christmas and the temporary cover are making a better fist of it. No doubt in January when the regular staff return, normal service of ignoring the elephant will be resumed.


  1. Wouldn't the amount of tax rise with the price of an item.

    The cheaper alcohol is the less money 'they' would be able to steal from us.

    Just a thought TBF.

  2. A good point BJ, which is probably why the Govt is so keen on the idea (that and pretending that they're doing something about binge drinking)

    Minimum pricing can either be so high that people can't afford it - which leads to other issues such as smuggling etc or just high enough for people to still afford and so in effect becomes a tax rise.

    It's refreshing (excuse the pun) though that the Telegraph manages to mention the EU elephant, it's taken them long enough.

  3. You realise that minimum pricing would not apply in The HoC? Tax is only for the little people, naturally. The air is taxed via carbon madness. I'm sure sex is also very costly if we look hard enough!

  4. @OldRightie - that goes without saying :-)

  5. Obviously Cameron is contemplating a swap. In exchange for abandoning his recent "veto" the EU will turn a blind eye to his booze pricing.

    It takes a smart operator and a cool negotiator to stick up for Britain's interests in 'Europe'.

    I remember Nu Labour talking about something on these lines and the preachy, sing-song voice of Dawn Primarola coming out with the condescending prattle. I really expected something a shade better from Cameron and co. It reinforces the point that you can't put a fag paper between them.