Monday, August 2, 2010

Illegal but no doubt they'll try it anyway

Under the EU anti competition laws it's illegal to price fix a product or service, indeed the European Court and its Advocate General have already told the Scottish Parliament such actions are illegal as long as we remain in the EU and under its jurisdiction. Not that it's stopping the Scottish parliament trying to do it anyway under "health and safety" provisions.


A minimum price for alcohol could be imposed on nearly four million consumers in the North West of England, if local authority plan is successful.

The ten local authorities in and around Manchester hope to pass a by-law that would set a minimum price of 50p per unit of alcohol, in an attempt to end to the cheap deals blamed for drink-fuelled disorder and health problems.
It would affect all the pubs, supermarkets and off-licences in Manchester, Bolton, Rochdale, Oldham and the area covered by the The Association of Greater Manchester Authorities. 
It would mean drinkers paying at least £4.50 for a standard-sized bottle of wine, £6 for a six-pack of lager and £14 for a 700ml bottle of whisky.
This move would be far bolder than proposals by the Coalition Government, which have so far suggested investigating the banning of below-cost selling. A consultation has started to ascertain how to define "below-cost".
The Manchester idea has been pioneered by Our Life, an NHS-backed campaign group, which says North West England has one of the worst alcohol problems in the country.
Andy Walker, at Our Life, said: "There are 1.3 million adults in the North West who drink hazardous or harmful amounts of alcohol. And the cost to the NHS North West, in terms of treating alcohol-related injuries and illnesses, is in excess of £400 million a year."
Apart from the fact that it is or should be none of their business what adults choose to do when they go drinking, nor what they drink. It's the job of the NHS to put us back together, nothing more nothing less. Certainly they can offer advice if asked, however they step over the bounds of civil liberties when they attempt to interfere by price fixing a legal drug or product. That contravenes EU law and sooner (probably) rather than later one of the drink makers will take them to court over this and cost the Northwest taxpayers considerable sums of money because of the rash and illegal action by the local authority should they succeed in price fixing. Again this is typical righteous thinking, use a blunt instrument to target both the law abiding and the law breaker, rather than target resources properly at those who abuse alcohol rather than pick the pockets of those who don't.
There are times I'm really glad Dover is only 45 minutes away the way the righteous bansturbators go on in this country.


4 annotations:

Curmudgeon said...

And no part of Greater Manchester is more than 15 miles from somewhere not in Greater Manchester, so everyone who had access to a car would just flock over the border. I'd like to see them try it, to be honest, as it would be such a disaster it would set the neo-Prohibitionist cause back for years.

The Boiling Frog said...

Hmm too many 'hopes', 'coulds' and 'ifs' in that article to mean anything definite. As you say QM it's against EU rules. I can't wait for the first court case if they try to go for it.

English Pensioner said...

They just don't get it do they?
Alcohol consumption is absolutely nothing to do with money, that merely affects the quality. If someone wants a drink, they will find the money either by cutting back elsewhere or stealing it. In times of abject poverty in countries like Russia, the poor still managed to get drunk on vodka.

Anonymous said...

It would put out of business loads of off-licenses and pubs in Manchester, so as far as the Prohibitionists are concerned it would be a smashing success.