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    British mumbo-jumbo: Making booze cheaper in pubs will help cut alcohol abuse!
    By Raghuveer Ramacha... | November 18th 2010 10:10 PM | 11 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    One scientist has recommended that decreasing tax on alcohol sold in pubs and increasing tax for the supermarket stuff will help UK spend less on alcohol abuse. Argument also goes to support struggling local pubs and restaurant.

    Alcohol abuse alone costs about GBP 55 billion and results in ~40k deaths in UK.

    This change would also help treasury gain some more revenues that can be used somewhere else.

    Kudos English, you keep finding ways to be more comfortable all the time...

    In US the hospitalization and death figures are much bigger and the money spent is exponentially higher. Why don't they come up with something like this?

    Original is here

    Comments

    Hank
    The author is the head of clinical hepatology at the University of Southampton, a member of the Alcohol Health Alliance and an advisor for the 2010 House of Commons Select Committee Report on Alcohol.  Hardly a shill for 'Big Alcohol'.

    The British economy is even worse than the US and lowering the VAT keeps the same mitigation effect on consumption but keeps businesses in business.   To bring the health benefits they perceive they get from lower consumption, they are raising the tax on alcohol in supermarkets.

    Two things about the UK that have not reduced problems are huge VATs on alcohol and banning guns - England, Wales and Scotland are 1,2 and 3 for highest crime in the western world.
    Aitch
    Hank,
    As a country which learned from the British John Lilburne who rejected the Star Chamber's abuses, as a reason FOR having a constitutional right to own guns, Americans seem to have become the world's role model of what NOT to use them for
    It is exported the world over via the movie business and news media
    Some of us on this side of the pond aren't impressed by your claims about our crime rates

    The real point is about freedom, which has been changed through history anyway, but still means the same to those who know

    http://www.johnlilburne.org/splashpage2.html

    When real freedom from tyranny is restored, the cause of discontent, and a major reason for [drug and] alcohol abuse is dissipated

    Aitch
    raghuveerkr
    It is only an advice, not even a proposal.
    Changes in VAT by few percentage points will hardly have any impact on consumption, at least in the short-run. If you decide to drink, you would drink even if the beer costs 50 cents more right?
    Crime rates in UK are among the highest, but imagine if they did have rights to carry guns...
    Hank
    Your title claimed the government was advocating lower VATs to cut alcohol abuse - they instead said the health issues were mitigated by 12% so 20% was onerous to businesses.   

    Now you are saying VAT makes no difference on consumption at all, so why keep it high?   I thought you had misunderstood but you seem not to have read the press release you linked to at all and just read their title.

    UK crime rates are likely high because burglars know that no house they break into will have someone shooting them.   That makes burglars willing to break in whether someone is home or not, spiking crime and assaults.
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    UK crime rates are likely high because burglars know that no house they break into will have someone shooting them. That makes burglars willing to break in whether someone is home or not, spiking crime and assaults.
    The downside Hank is that according to this BBC report, an American is 3 times more likely to be raped than their British counterpart, seven times more likely to be murdered and 60 times more likely to be shot. These were the stats back in 2000 in a report that also showed firearms were used in 68% of murders in the US compared with 7% in England and Wales, and in 41% of robberies in America compared to only 5% in England and Wales. See http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/810522.stm Not sure what the stats are now though, maybe they have changed a lot since then?
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Hank
    The US doesn't have a 7X murder rate as the UK, though obviously more people will be shot in the US than the UK since the UK bans guns so only criminals have them.   But I don't agree that a criminal shot committing a crime is a 'victim' of gun violence either way and was therefore 'murdered' by being shot.   There were 3,869 gun 'murders' in the US in 2007, for example.   Out of 300,000,000 people.   But if you count criminals shot committing crimes, suddenly there were 30,000 murders.    

    1/5th of those murders in the US do happen in Detroit and Baltimore so do not visit bad areas in those cities.    I know I won't.   :)

    There is no debate at all here, no candidate runs on banning or even limiting guns, because it is a minor statistic.   Obama didn't mention gun control once during his campaign.   But crime is a topic in every British campaign because there is no way to fudge the numbers, like people can do by counting criminal deaths as 'murders' even when they are shot by police.

    I also don't see being murdered with a baseball bat as superior to being murdered with a gun and rapes are reported so it is a questionable stat - if British women report fewer rapes in one year (1998 was the year they used) it does not mean they didn't happen or that you are more likely to be raped in the US, it means reports of rape are up to individuals.    Deaths are obviously a lot more noticeable.
       
    I should also note that even average murder numbers are meaningless.  I have an almost nonexistent chance of being murdered given my lifestyle, yet my chance of having my head split open due to an assault if I visit London is 10X what it is in New York City unless I stay in my hotel.
    raghuveerkr
    Your title claimed the government was advocating lower VATs to cut alcohol abuse - they instead said the health issues were mitigated by 12% so 20% was onerous to businesses.
    I still do not think my title says "British government advocated xyz"... Does "British" mean "British government" ? I did/do not think so...
    Now you are saying VAT makes no difference on consumption at all, so why keep it high?   I thought you had misunderstood but you seem not to have read the press release you linked to at all and just read their title.
    I think the suggestion was to increase VAT on supermarket alcohol, so that people buy less outside, and decrease in VAT in pubs so that people will go sit in pubs and drink. And when they talk about reducing alcohol abuse, they are referring to reduced consumption outside the pubs (where it is impossible to enforce age-limits etc).
    So what I meant was, increase in VAT outside of pub is not going to reduce consumption and so will not have significant impact on abuse. That is why the phrase 'mumbo-jumbo'
    Decrease in VAT for pubs may result in increase in business for pubs, but the question is whether compensatory increase outside will deter people from buying outside resulting in reduced abuse...
    UK crime rates are likely high because burglars know that no house they break into will have someone shooting them.   That makes burglars willing to break in whether someone is home or not, spiking crime and assaults.
    There are other European nations where possessing gun is illegal. It doesn't increase crime rates there. I wish controlling crime was as simple as giving permission to possess guns to the citizens...
    Aitch
    Kudos English, you keep finding ways to be more comfortable all the time...
    Thanks for the Kudos, though I'm not sure the example you quote is worthy of it

    It seems to show several things:

    1] The Scientist concerned has little understanding of solutions to alcohol abuse
    2] Neither do the Politicians
    3] Business as usual, for pubs and clubs, now mainly under Local Government control, due to [unlawful]* licensing law changes, at least, for those who haven't gone bust
    4] Tax it anyway, they'll keep doing it
    5] If any of this has a positive impact on alcohol abuse, it will be a fluke

    Addictions remain attractive, when life without them seems unbearable

    There is nothing addressing the unbearable here, and I'm not very comfortable about that!

    * I may do an article on this, as it's spread throughout the western culture, based on old English law....now perverted

    Aitch

    rholley
    When I first read the title, I thought “that figures!”.  Such thinking was characteristic of our previous administration, who on the one hand would deplore family debt problems caused by gambling and on the other allow 24-hour opening of casinos.

    But this article does misrepresent what the honourable scientist is saying.  Most British science professors, when pontificating on political matters, do talk out of the back of their heads, but this one seems to be an exception.
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    HedgehogFive
    Raghuveer,

    If you really want evidence that Britain has gone bonkers read:

    (1) Forced adoption: another win for the child snatchers

    (2) Further remarks on Islam as our state religion
    raghuveerkr
    But this article does misrepresent what the honourable scientist is saying.  
    I had no intention to question the scientist's honesty or his intentions. It was my opinion that increase in VAT may not bring the alcohol abuse down significantly. Apologize if I hurt feelings :)
    If you really want evidence that Britain has gone bonkers read:
    I will not go to the extent of saying British have gone 'bonkers', that would too much of a generalization.