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back to article Doctors back more tax on booze

The British Medical Association has supported the suggestion that a hike in tax on booze could help combat the UK's binge-drinking culture. Earlier this week Professor Julian le Grand, the chairman of Health England, called for the price of alcohol to be raised as part of a raft of proposals aimed at tackling the problem. He …

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Just like smoking

Hey, everyone hates smokers now - why not start on people who have a drink? Right I have an idea:

1. Ban Smoking in pubs (done)

2. Ban drinking in pubs (in progress)

3. Ban food in pubs (claim it makes people fat)

4. Ban pubs

- I am really starting to get annoyed by this nanny state thing - next we'll have to be booking appointments to use roads....

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Pah!

More tax will achieve absolutely nothing other than to make the fat Jock even more smug

Addressing the basic problems (destruction of the family, selling the UK down the river, total open-door policies etc. etc.) which the liberal elite have spawned over the years but which they're just to dense and arrogant to see would be a much better move.

I have no more than 3 or 4 beers per week. I'm taxed to death by the fat Jock already.I do NOT wish to have even more stolen from the meagre remains of my salary just because Fatty is utterly incompetent at anything other than sticking his greasy mitt in other people's pockets.

Away with him & his ilk - then let's address the real problems!

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or...

"a quarter of all drink-related deaths could be prevented by a ten per cent rise in taxes on beer, wine and spirits"

...or a 10% reduction in benefits

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rich people get liver disease, too

If the government genuinely wanted to reduce deaths, they'd restrict alcohol consumption across the board - not merely raising the price so that people on low incomes couldn't afford it.

Raising the price (especially as the govt. has a vested interest, as they get to trouser the tax) is not the answer as it is a divisive process and discriminates against the social classes of voters who traditionally vote for the labour party.

Raising the price is also morally dubious, especially if the govt. acknowledge that some people are dependent on alcohol as it exploits their dependency to raise revenue - closer to the actions of drug pushers than a supposedly caring state.

The only fair way to reduce alcohol consumption across all social groups is to reduce access based on attributes other than price: age, rationing, times/days of sales, location of outlets would all work. The government could even admit they were wrong and bring back 10:30 closing times.

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Gates Halo

@Eitsop

5. Ban dogs (by extending the dangerous dogs act).. also under way

Just saying... it's all part of the "mans" overall plan.

Also would the NHS no suffer from the ocular issues caused by the flood of spiteful branded moonshine

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Anonymous Coward

Is it just me...

or does 8,758 deaths a year due to booze out of a population of around 60m sound like there might be more important things to worry about? Even if you reduce the 60m figure to the population that actually drinks it's still a few thousand out of millions

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24 hours?

Funny how people blame 24 hour licensing hours but that's never where I've seen a problem.

The problem isn't people drinking moderately over a spread out period - it's people drinking heavily for a short time.

I don't drink or smoke, so for all I care ban the lot. But then we have seen how well prohibition (didn't) work....

The problem is nothing to do with open times. It's to do with a culture that somehow thinks it is a good thing to get so off your face you can't even remember what happened the next morning. Fix that and you will do far more good than the fascists we call a government restricting one more freedom.

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Stop

Since when were doctors politicians?

Doctors can say that drinking excessive alcohol is bad. They're not qualified to say "Tax this" and "band that". Sorry but shut up. Don't get me wrong, I hate politicians more than the next person but they are better equipped and placed to make this call. Give them facts not opinions Doc.

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Anonymous Coward

Hang on a minute...

Can someone explain why there is less of a binge drinking problem on the continent *despite* alcohol being considerably cheaper there than it is in the UK?

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I told people

that when the ban on smoking came, drinking would be next on the line for these twunts.

We're already seeing demand for health warnings on the labels of booze.

The response I got? drinking is too ingrained in our culture, they'll never get rid of it.

They tried before, and royally failed.. only difference now is that the weak citizenship of this country will willfully comply.

What happened to the old protesting that used to happen in this country? if this were happening in france they'd be torching cars by now!

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Pirate

I welcome this health measure

The closer we come to prohibition, the closer we come to revolt.

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Pirate

The closing time issue

is not a factor or is very very minor.

Drink driving - no limit, you drink NO drive, instant ban.

Warning labels on booze - good idea.

More social awareness, also good - advertising the dangers would be a good idea.

Increased Tax on Alcopops or similar a very very good idea since one of the reasons these were created was to get round duty.

Most important right now I would say is more controls on underage drinking - too many 12 year olds on the streets pissed. Increased fines for parents of underage drinkers and especially closing down for 24 hours any place that sells booze to someone under 18 - no ID no drink, everyone at age 18 has at least one form of decent ID ffs.

Taxing across the board is stupid though, this needs a measured targeted approach

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Joke

yeah, coz booze is just soooo cheap here!!

In Cyprus they don't tax booze and strangely, not everyone is dropping dead before they hit 30.

This is a cultural issue, increasing the price of the problem will only cause financial hardship for those who find life in the UK so unbearable.

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Anonymous Coward

@Ted Treen

Liberal elite? I live in a surveilance state which bends over backward to coddle the rich & poweful, what country do you live in?

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Tim

a quarter of all drink-related deaths could be prevented by a ten per cent rise in taxes on... ?????

And just how was that statistic derived? Dice? So, howcome in the rest of Europe where the taxes are much lower they don't have these problems?

It's a sad indictment of todays mainstream media that so called experts come up with such shockingly simplistic approaches to complex problems and can publish them as a serious suggestion.

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Paris Hilton

If I ruled the world

"Doctors back more tax on booze"

I back more tax on Doctors. In fact a 10% increase in tax on Doctors would result in a 15% decrease in house prices over the next 5 years. It's true 'cause I just wrote it and it's now been published on tinternet! (which is all it takes these days for the UK media to swallow it).

Paris cause she's wearing them doctor-type specs.

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Silly doctors

Er, if the cost goes up, doesn't smuggling also go up? These people seem to think that we live in an isolated island and the cost of things in the EU has absolutely no effect.

Silly doctors. Your job is to fix us when we break, not to force us into a bland world, bound in yards of cotton wool.

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Anonymous Coward

Prices go up, consumption goes up too

Trouble with this is it's based on faulty logic.

Alcoholic drink prices are 20% higher now than in the 1980s even adjusting for inflation. Yet drinking has increased anyway.

The campaigners argue that we should take wealth into account. By saying we are wealthier and hence, even though it's more expensive, we can still afford it. However a bottle of wine is 3 quid, everyone can afford it. Making it 3.3 quid does not make it unaffordable.

If it cost 1.5 I would not drink 2 bottles instead of 1.

If it cost 6 quid, I would not drink half a bottle instead of 1.

Once we can afford the maximum amount of booze we can drink, it makes no difference how wealthy we are. Bill Gates cannot drink a million bottles of wine a day just because he can afford it.

So calculating an affordability index just to get a correlation between price and consumption is nonsense past the point at which people can afford it.

It's not the causal link, the causal link is bored people, stuck in their houses, with nothing to do but watch TV reality shows. I find UK mind numbing to visit. It's like everywhere is shut, you can shop till you drop until 8pm then at night the streets become a no go zone, with police everywhere and only youths desparate for casual sex prepared to go out and run the gauntlet of CCTV's police pubs and clubs.

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Alert

Try something else, perhaps?

Taxes on booze have gone up steadily for the last few decades and they haven't done anything to change behaviour. Maybe it's time for a different tactic?

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Unhappy

Ban doctors

Overpaid government botherers!

Efros

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BMA?

I guess the BMA must be to doctors what NuLabour is to the rest of us, totally out of touch with those they purport to represent. Most of the doctors I've met had to be poured into their houses at the end of an evening and are probably even now dreaming up ways to stick their collective boots up the BMA's arses.

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Coat

I demand booze!

Complete bastards!!! I’ll fight yer’ all...

Mine’s the one with the miniatures sown into the lining.

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The problem is ill-defined

Just like so many tax-generating ideas, they do not specify the problem, only possible solutions of, of course, raising tax.

Whatever else they do, they know we'll pay the extra tax and the ill-defined problems will still be here.

drink-related deaths? Want to bet that's completely bogus? Is it drunk people falling into canals? Or drinkers from the 70s now with liver cancer? Which of these will be stopped by raising taxes?

Hooded chav drinkers? They're going to stop drinking because it's more expensive? The day it's too expensive for them is the day it's too expensive for all of us.

Health - so nice of the government to think my health when it raises taxes for them, or when they get to fritter them away... but you know we won't drink less and the ill-defined problems will remain.

The non-smokers really should have seen this coming... less tax from smokers means more tax from you. And to get tax from you they have to make *you* a pariah of society - you pesky social drinker with your sensible attitude!

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Alert

Not really fair

I'm a Scot and I don't drink alcohol, I've never seen the need to (yes I still go to Pubs). But even I can see this proposed tax is unfair on responsible drinkers.

So why oh why isn't the government researching why young people want to drink so much and try to break their death wishes?

Ok, I know people think it's a culture thing, But seemingly young people having a lack of Empathy due to their brains getting rewritten and this leads to them performing behaviour that ignores their effect on others. Surely parents and the government can do some training or teaching that tries to readdress this inbalance?

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Anonymous Coward

@ Jolly

Actually my GP owns at least a dozen houses that he rents out, so there may be some truth in what you say!

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Black Helicopters

It's a good job...

..the budget is around the corner, was getting worried that i hadn't heard what they were going to put taxes up on

actually the time for sarcasm past some time ago,i think i actually despise this government with their blatant fuckwittery

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Alien

Stupid ignorant f****rs

Ban this, ban that, increase the cost of this and that etc etc ad nauseum.

If has got fuck all to do with the price of booze and all raising the price will do will be to make people a little more skint.

go to virtually any other country in the world and you will not find the same problems with drunken morons as we have here and yet in many of those countries the booze is cheaper (or at least on a par to ours given differences in overall cost of living).

The difference in these other countries is that the idiotic and loutish behaviour is not tolerated and the punishments are exactly that, punishments.

the alien cos most of these morons seem to live on another planet

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Anonymous Coward

Bleedin' heart fascism

YOU couldn't invent it. (Because you don't have the licence).

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Jobs Halo

It's not about the Fooking PRICE!

2 points about this horseshit:

1. it's not the price, if a pint was £10 people would still get wasted because: they're so pissed off with life; sick of the asshole policies of the facist state; want to get 'more pissed' than their mates; actually enjoy it....

2. my girlfriend works for a major booze producer, we get it dead cheap and have cupboards full of the stuff - i don't drink a lot or get paraletic on weekdays/weekends because i can CONTROL MYSELF. i don't need bollox ideas/useless tax hikes from doctors/politicians who cannot sort the real problems out in the UK

3. maybe they need the cash to start more wars instead of listening to what the people of the UK actually want to see their taxes spent on

4. don't forget - the government get tax AND duty on booze, AND they tax a tanker of lager when it leaves the brewery AND when it's sold in a pint to you!

5. STOP TRYING TO CONTROL EVERY FOOKING THING WE DO you useless twats!!!!

6. that's 6 points, not 2

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Black Helicopters

A pattern emerges...

Cigarettes are bad for you: we're increasing the taxes further and demonising anyone who smokes.

Alcohol is bad for you: we're increasing the taxes further and demonising anyone who drinks.

Driving is bad for you: we're increasing fuel taxes and congestion charges further, and demonising anyone who drives.

Junk food is bad for you: we're going to increase the taxes further and we're already demonising anyone who eats a Snickers bar in public.

Next Week:

Disagreeing with Nu-Labour is bad for you: we're increasing taxes on having an opinion, and demonising anyone who objects.

wokka-wokka-wokka-Wokka-WOkka-WOKka-WOKKa-WOKKA-WOKKA

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Flame

Fuel, booze...

...what next fresh air?

I brew my own beer so I wonder how long it will be before thay try and tax homebrew, a tax on brewing yeast maybe?

Can we have a clown icon please? A brown clown...

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How ****ng convienient for the treasury

It's truly remarking and amazing how many problems we have that can solved by a tax hike.

Problem : Global Warming

Answer : Raise tax on fuel.

Problem : Smoking related disease.

Answer : Raise tax on tobacco.

Problem : Binge Drinking

Answer : Raise tax on alcohol

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linked to means nothing

Weasel words strike again: the drinker botherers have LINKED more deaths to alcohol, that does't mean there's been any increase at all, they're just adding up the stats differently to get the answer they want.

Its seriously hard to believe a declining drinks market can support the claims and I simply cant accept claims binge drinking is worse now than it was in my youth 25 years ago. Teetotal prohibitionists might believe this bullshit, those of us who actually drink remember it differently.

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Coat

From my booze soaked hands...

Before we embarked on our glorious careers in IT, Medicine, Law, etc, my friends and I used to calculate which beverages had the best alcohol to money ratio to get us plastered. Once we started earning, our tastes became more sophisticated but the end result was still the same. If the price of booze goes up too much, we will just revert to the old formula.

Mine's the soiled raincoat with a half-empty bottle of Boss Super - Leeds' finest cheapest cider!

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Go

Simple solution

Well, looks like I'll be making more of the ol' homebrew! No tax on the ingridients and you get 40 pints of pretty damn good beer as well for about £10!

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Linux

Obama for Prime Minister

OBAMA OBAMA OBAMA!

We need change here too. The politicos are just going to offer us the same crappy choice of:

Conservatives: Money for rich people only

New Labour: Money for rich people and politicians and their friends/family

We need an IT literate, Non-corruptable, forward planning, INTELLIGENT party

Surely it is the duty of everyone here to put themselves forward for public duty in order to enact (or revoke) laws to achieve a harmonious synergy wihtin the nation..... In other words, somebody else do it for me, I can't be arsed.

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Easy

Why is it when something needs to be changed/discouraged they ALWAYS suggest the easy answer, Tax?

THIS WILL NOT WORK, are you listening? For a tax to prevent/discourage people buying stuff it HAS to be a whopper of an increase. I.E from £1.00 for a can of beer to say £5.00 a can. If it's too small peope will pay it, just look at fags, congestion charge etc, sure they'll complain but they do it anyway. Granted a minority will stop but the rest have no no such reservatrion about ploug

So you bunch of shortsighted, narrowminded, unimaginative little men get your fingers out of your noses and come up with a solution that doesn't involve tax.

Jerks!

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Ian
Stop

SIGH

Has no UK politician or doctor ever heard of Scandinavia? They've been trying this approach in Iceland, Finland Norway and so on for decades and have massive drinking problems. In fact it's worse, as you end up with poorer people brewing their own lethal potions out of all sorts of unhealthy dross.

Let's grow up a bit and look to the south of Europe for our answers rather than the north, as their approach demonstrably *has not worked*

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where or where to start.

Well seeing as all the major points have been covered like where the hell did they get those stats from (was it a poll of people who died from alcohol asking if their pint cost £2.20 instead of £2.00 would they still be alive?), the majority of europe is cheaper with younger/more relaxed drinking laws yet less of a problem, and what is this doctor fella doing?

Well there is one thing i'd like to add, people will continue to drink the same amount, they'll pay more. They'll just not buy fresh vegetables and go for the 2for1 frozen pizza, skip the gym membership and put off buying those new jeans. The price rise will leave people with less money for healthy living and stop people spending money elswhere in the economy.

Fire symbol because the mobs will be coming with torches for you doc

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Because

"Can someone explain why there is less of a binge drinking problem on the continent *despite* alcohol being considerably cheaper there than it is in the UK?"

because we have been done over by successive governments for too long, we drink oursleves to blissful forgetfulness.

Either that or face the reality of being TAXED as you earn money, TAXED as you spend it, TAXED if you save it. God forbid you have to buy fuel to get to you place of work, they TAX the TAX on that.

Is it any wonder why we drink?

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N
Bronze badge

Let me see...

lets open the pubs all day long and, whoops weve got a drink problem, never saw that one coming...

Just like, "lets build a big f**k off casino" to gasp in astonishment when gambling related problems rise.

Once again our government gets a D for dunce with a 'could do better' in red writing

Incidentally, teachers are not allowed to use red anymore because it causes stress to the little (knife wielding) darlings

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Coat

With apologies to Pastor Martin Niemöller

"First they came for the smokers and I did not speak out because I was not a smoker

Then they came for the drinkers and I did not speak out because I was not a drinker

Then they came for the boring, self-righteous pricks and there was no one left to speak out for me"

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Anonymous Coward

one for the conspiracy theorists

i've just got back from asda, after doing the weekly shopping and in the wine aisle about 30% of the shelf space was empty, the bottles which used to sit thereon all having been 'reduced to clear' to half price and having been immediately snapped up - unfortunately before i got there, so i had to pay the full £2,85 for my bottle of hungarian merlot!

coincidental clearance of old stock, before bringing new lines in?... or are asda privvy to some secret forthcoming government annnouncement on the pricing or selling of booze in supermarkets, which has prompted them to urgently free up a substantial chunk of the shelf space they currently have devoted to booze?

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CHUMP OF THE WEEK

No contest - outright winner.

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Carrot and stick

When are they going to start offering tax breaks on healthy (or otherwise to-be-promoted) activities? Rather than slapping monstrous tax hikes on 4x4s, tobacco and alcohol, why not subsidise small vehicles, excercise and fruit juice?

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Boffin

2 things

no, not my nads...

1: Doctors can afford to spend more on their booze, so they won't have a problem backing a price hike.

2: 30,000 British people every year are killed through medical mistakes - making doctors more dangerous ... than smoking or walking in front of a lorry. (the spectator 19/01/08)

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Alert

Nanny state

Prohibition failed before, yet we're trying it again - first in cracking down on smoking, then on fresh magic mushrooms (in Camden tea shops), next talk on taking a harder line on cannabis, now on alcohol. When will there be someone to rally behind voicing the opinion that enough is enough, we want our freedom to choose to do things?

I don't smoke, I rarely drink, but I want the right to choose. I'm not talking about mugging a granny for her penion - they're soft on that already. Ditch the fudged figures about the cost to the NHS etc (recent studies have already shown that healthy living people end up costing more anyway), ditch the unsubstantiated figures about deaths from passive smoking (I'm fine with properly justified ones, but most of the figures trotted out give no references), and recognise that people have a right to relax and unwind. If they chose to have a drink, a smoke or something else, then fine. If that causes them to go out and crash or pick a fight, then treat it as an aggravating factor then. But don't punish the innocent with ever more punitive taxes and draconian restrictions.

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Flame

Follow the money

And I bet they know exactly where the 'extra' money should go...

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Paris Hilton

Inevitable?

This seems to be one of the inevitable side-effects of big government. Once the state is seen to be the solution to everything, everyone and anyone becomes a lobbyist. Police cease to become mere enforcers of the state and start actively lobbying for more power. Doctors start believing that their job isn't just to repair our injuries but to change us so we don't get damaged in the first place. Environmentalism becomes less about the earth and more about the cause du jour, which typically turns out to be getting the filthy working classes off our roads and Spanish beaches. Even private enterprise gets increasingly addicted to the government teat, and when the government's message on the UK business environment is "We'll tax the bejeesus out of you, but if your business fails we'll give you a massive bailout and take you under our nationalised wing if even that doesn't help", you can hardly blame them.

With respect to Brian Miller above, the instinctive "we need better government" reaction merely illustrates how entrenched the nanny state has become in our consciousness. What we need is not better government, because there's no such damn thing as an efficient, intelligent organisation which has no incentive to be so. We need less government. We are way, way past the point where careful work with a scalpel is necessary - it's time to use an axe first, and consider stitching bits back on if they turned out to be genuinely necessary later.

I have a suggestion: all political party manifestos should consist of two numbers, that being how much they are going to reduce or increase the total budget and how many bureaucrats they are going to sack or hire. The ins and outs are a bit irrelevant at this point. But then again... I've just proposed a solution which would require a state body (the election authorities) to draw up new rules and hire more staff to enforce them. Even I can't get away from the 'something must be done' mentality. Paris Hilton because I think I need a clear out of my brain.

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