The remarkable logic of the minimum booze price people

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This is an interesting example of the logic of the anti-booze prodnoses. They tell us that a minimum price for alcohol will affect really heavy drinkers almost exclusively because really heavy drinkers drink cheap alcohol:

A new study of liver patients shows that a Minimum Unit Price policy for alcohol is exquisitely targeted towards the heaviest drinkers with cirrhosis. Researchers studied the amount and type of alcohol drunk by 404 liver patients, and also asked patients how much they paid for alcohol. They found that patients with alcohol related cirrhosis were drinking on average the equivalent of four bottles of vodka each week, and were buying the cheapest booze they could find.

No, really, that's it, that's their argument.

Published today in Clinical Medicine, the peer review journal for the Royal College of Physicians, the researchers studied the amount and type of alcohol drunk by 404 liver patients, and also asked patients how much they paid for alcohol. They found that patients with alcohol related cirrhosis were drinking on average the equivalent of four bottles of vodka each week, and were buying the cheapest booze they could find, paying around 33p per unit, irrespective of their income. In contrast, low risk moderate drinkers were paying on average £1.10 per unit.

If the government set a MUP at 50p, it wouldn't affect pubs or bars and would have no impact on moderate drinkers; the average cost would be £4 per year and 90 per cent would not be affected at all, the research shows. The impact on heavy drinking liver patients would be at least 200 times higher.

They've not even attempted to work out what the actual effect of an MUP would be. No discussion at all of whether people would in fact drink less. Or even whether people are in fact budget constrained and if they are whether it would be other things (oooh, I dunno, food maybe?) that would get dropped from their budget in the face of such price increases. They've just said that alcoholics drink cheap booze so we're right!

And they're still not attempting to answer the point we've been making here for so long. Which is that an MUP is still a ludicrous way of dealing with this. Even if it's true that higher booze prices would reduce the amount alcoholics glug, even if they're correct on that point, it's still a ludicrous solution. If you want more expensive booze then raise the alcohol tax: at least that way there'll be a bit of revenue and we can cut other taxes to boot. Why on earth you would try to raise prices and then insist that the extra margin stays with the manufacturer or retailer is very hard to fathom.