David Cameron is expected to shortly unveil his plans for minimum alcohol pricing, expected to be between 45p and 50p per unit. The fact is that, while this is a plan to deal with binge drinking, it’s not a good idea. Punishing the responsible majority for the actions of an irresponsible minority is not the liberal way and this is, quite simply, a badly thought-through plan.
I am a student. Like most students, I live mostly off money I’m given by the government in the form of student loans. Like most students, I typically spend maybe two or three nights a week drinking alcohol. Like most students, I tend to try to find the cheapest, strongest alcohol I can, not because I’m some kind of alcoholic but because I have a very limited budget and if I can’t save money on drink, it would mean having to look at my expenses elsewhere, eg books, food, clothes etc. I can only assume that most students would be against mandatory minimum alcohol pricing (though I’ve not tested this theory, I’d be amazed if more than a small minority were happy to pay more).
Unlike most students, I’m a Liberal Democrat and consistently put my heart and soul into promoting the party at every opportunity. Students have just about got over thinking of us as the party of tuition fees, I’d really hate for them to start thinking of us as the party that made alcohol more expensive.
It’s not only students that would struggle to rebudget, these plans would very disproportionately affect poorer people. How many millionaires can be found drinking Frosty Jack? I don’t think that David Cameron even understands how important an affordable evening involving drinking is to many working class people who are entirely responsible with their habits.
If there are any parliamentarians reading this, please think very hard about this new plan.