Our straight talking Lancashire lass takes a sideways look at the daily news.
Should David Cameron stay away from our booze?
If you like the occasional tipple you’re not going to like today’s news. This year the budget forces the price of alcohol upwards yet again, which is to be expected really.
But in addition to the tax rise, David Cameron wants to impose a minimum alcohol unit price to deal with binge drinking. He also wants to ban the sale of discount multibuy booze packs. BBQs in the UK will never be the same...
I think this is a good call. Most of us like a drink every now and again, but the binge drinking culture is certainly a blight on Britain.
According to the NHS Information Centre, in 2008 there were 6769 alcohol-related deaths, 65% of whom died from liver disease. And during 2010 over 1 million people were admitted to hospital with alcohol-related conditions.
Apart from the human cost, the financial burden this places on an already-stretched NHS is astronomical. But the damage to your body is also quite scary when you look at it.
Too much alcohol puts you at risk of heart disease, throat cancer, liver disease, depression, anxiety, loss of libido and cerebellar degeneration (i.e., brain rot). And although the NHS quotes around 7000 deaths as a direct result of alcohol, experts believe that annually 20,000 deaths can be attributed to alcohol-related illness and accidental death.
I don’t want to preach against alcohol. I’m a massive wine fan, and I love nothing more than a velvety rich Merlot or a tasty Rioja. I’m also partial to getting squiffed and then buying random stuff on Amazon because it’s funny (seriously, every morning is like Christmas). But I think I know where to draw the line because I’m an adult. It’s the kids I worry about because they do tend to start early these days. Scarily, new research suggests that kids are more familiar with brands of alcohol than snacks.
Drinks like wine aren’t really the problem though. Wine is expensive and I assume it’s an acquired taste. The day I see a group of chavs drinking Beaujolais from the bottle rather than Blue WKD, Satan will skate to work. No, it’s the vodka, cider, lager and fizzy alcohops that the kids want. Drinks that are disgusting, ram packed full of toxic chemicals and all dirt cheap.
So maybe, just maybe, making cheap cider, spirits, alcopops and lager more expensive will put youngsters off drinking. They may be living through a crappy recession, they may be struggling to find meaningful work, but at least they’ll have their health.
Also, the coalition believe that getting rid of supermarket boozy discounts might encourage people to start drinking responsibly in pubs. Clearly David Cameron has never been out drinking in Accrington, but here’s hoping…
So is the minimum alcohol unit price a good thing? Or do you think that Cameron should keep his mitts off the drinks?