Related tags Binge drinking Roger protz Alcoholic beverage Government

Where there's a will there's a way Re: Roger Protz's article "Breaking the silence" (MA, 21 February 2008). On the assumption that Government will...

Where there's a will there's a way

Re: Roger Protz's article "Breaking the silence"

(MA, 21 February 2008).

On the assumption that Government will tax binge drinking, the pub industry must do the thinking -

or we will drown.

There might be a way to address the on/off-sales price imbalance. As only three VAT rates are set in (Euro) stone, how about this?

1. Supermarkets and

off-licences would only be able to claim back VAT on home-delivery purchases (and perhaps bulk purchases, such as wine).

2. Pubs would continue to claim on all purchases and would incur "severe penalties" for discounting for take-out.

It would be in the pub's interest to prove that everything was sold as

on-sales, not take-out.

This would put up cost prices in supermarkets' and off-licences' off-sales by a minimum 17.5%.

So what about the poor person who wants a bottle of Scotch, a wine with supper and a case of beer for Saturday afternoon?

Most people's consumption is pretty consistent - perhaps they could switch to wine clubs and online ordering/supermarket home delivery, which is a growing business in any event.

The only consumers

hit would be "impulsive"

in-store purchasers. It wouldn't stop kids nicking their parents' drinks, but it is unlikely that alcopops would be on their (online) shopping list anyway.

As for parents who buy their kids alcohol to drink "down the bus shelter",

they would have to pay

top-dollar and could well get arrested under proposed legislation.

Supermarkets would then grow their home-delivery operations.

The Government would be happy. Binge drinking would be dented at least,

as teenagers (and annoyed parents) were forced to pay much more at the supermarket till.

Can anyone think of a downside to this?

Michael Bell

Via email to forum

Keep delivering great nights out

Re: Barracuda defends cheap party deals

(MA, 21 February 2008).

Having spent the last 13 years seeking to both build the late-night sector's reputation with Government and improve operating standards across the sector, I can assure you my intention is not to act as

an apologist for deep discounting.

As you are all aware, the licensed trade has taken a beating from government, councils and the police in recent years. While targeted enforcement against irresponsible operators has its place, too often the good operator is penalised alongside the bad (eg, blanket bottle bans).

There is a real danger

that Government will act to drive up the price of alcohol on the back of lobbying by the police and health services, fuelled by national media coverage.

Current perceived wisdom in Whitehall when it comes to irresponsible promotions is that "they are all at it".

We need to bring some proportion to the debate on alcohol in the on-trade.

Yes - poor operators exist and should be dealt with. But ministers cannot be allowed to labour under the misapprehension that, as the Home Secretary herself said earlier this month, "Fifty-pence shots and all-inclusive promotions" are commonplace.

If they keep believing this, restrictive licence conditions and duty hikes will follow.

Noctis has championed responsible sales, dispersal policies, registration of door staff, safer clubbing etc.

I want to make sure responsible operators are given the freedom to deliver a great night (making a profit in the process) for decades to come.

Jon Collins

Chairman, Noctis

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