The Scottish government has welcomed a call for minimum alcohol pricing made by a House of Commons committee. Westminster’s health committee made the recommendation after claiming the drinks industry held more power over policy than health experts. … The recommendation came in a report published by the cross-party Commons health select committee, chaired by Labour MP Kevin Barron.
There is no doubt that increasing the price of goods reduces the demand for them, it’s a principle that is fundamental to our understanding of economics. The questions are more to do with how will this reduction come about? Will those that are drinking to excess cut back to a healthier intake, or will those who are occasional drinkers become less occasional drinkers? One won’t necessarily be able to tell from the sales figures, but I guess the NHS will be able to tell.
One has to conclude that the consumption of alcohol to excessive levels is seen as rational by those that do it – perhaps the risk to their health is considered a price worth paying for the ‘rewards’ of escapism or social inclusion. Such people will still seek those ‘rewards’ once alcohol goes up, and as long as they value them more highly than the alternatives, they will continue to drink.
We’ll see what happens