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Tax Increase Brewing
Did you see it in The Press, another idea to take more tax off us! Put up tax by 10% on beers and ciders stronger than 3.7% to stop people binge drinking, and by another 10% on drinks stronger than 5.2%. So find something that we enjoy and just because a few people do it to excess, put a tax on it and sell it as a health initiative.
Of course there will be a corresponding reduction on tax on soft drinks! Will there heckers like! Take take take is what all governments are about, followed by spend spend spend. How about a recognition that binge drinking is something mainly young people do, until they grow out of it as I did. How about the recognition that there are very few soft drinks available in pubs and all of those seem to either rot your teeth, fill you full of caffeine, or give you guts ache. Why do people in government feel that they can take the stick to the public to teach them how to live their lives. Where is the freedom of expression and choice in that?
One point that many concerned groups seem to miss is that most drinkers do not see binge drinking (what is the definition anyway) as a problem. They go out with a few friends for drinks, probably at the weekend (because they already can't afford to go our every night) and want to have enough to relax and forget the worries of the week. There has to be some realism about what another rise in taxation really means. I predict that a rise in taxation on stronger beers and ciders will have no effect on binge drinking at all. People who can't afford the prices will do without a meal before they start drinking, do without a meal while they drink, or do without the burgers after they drink. If that fails they will do as those who can't afford drink do across Eastern Europe, they will drink black market spirit, with all its lethal consequences. The potential net effect will be to have very drunk (and possibly very ill) binge drinkers and a bigger tax take for the government... but the chance to say "we have done something about binge drinking".
Surely it is better to encourage people to eat more while drinking, slowing the drinking down and reducing drinking capacity, and maybe provide free cool water dispensers. But and it is a big but, there is no incentive for the government to take that route as there would be no chance to simply put tax up and have more tax flowing into their coffers.
So it's back to the stick again and not a carrot in sight. Back at school again where the teacher can't be bothered to deal with the ones causing the problems, so we all get punished. Easy, quick, but certainly not fair. So who's running this place anyway, "government of the people, by the people, for the people", my eye.