Monday 16 March 2009

Floors and ceilings

Floors and ceilings need space between them. If not we'd have nowhere to walk around within buildings. If we raise a floor so that it is less than 6'6" from the ceiling some people would bump their head and the ceiling would have to be raised.

I used to think that there might be something we could do to stop the problem of cheap booze in supermarkets. I used to be in support of a minimum pricing policy to stop the increasing differential between pub and shop prices. Price of beer in the supermarket increasing to the same as 'Spoons would result in the price going up there as well and so ripple through to the price ceilings. I do believe there is a reason why the differential exists, it's market forces.

As a licensee it might be nice for the government to tell the industry that we have to charge more for alcohol. There is indeed part of me that thinks that perhaps drink is too cheap, but I would think that, I am very successfully making very little money out of the stuff.

I just don't feel comfortable with the government producing minimum price legislation. Knowing how it went with the smoking ban it will probably end up being illegal for me to provide a free taster for the wary customer. Or perhaps I might like to run a promotion that permits me to give away a bottle of wine with a meal. Where do you draw the line? Knowing this government the line will be at zero tolerance. Most of all though I agree with the growing feeling that this is just another prohibitionist style attack on the whole drinks industry.

I know I'm only repeating what many other bloggers have already said but I don't think it can be said too often.

There is an interesting piece by a GP on the issue. Thankfully prohibitionism isn't supported by many GP's either.


Alistair Reece said...

If this government actually cared about industries rather than focus groups, it would perhaps be an idea for them to increase VAT on beer bought for consumption off the premises, and to eliminate it for that bought to be consumed on the premises.

The people who buy cheap crap to drink whilst watching something on the idiot box are not likely to be enticed into a pub and as such would probably suck up a minor price rise so that they can park themselves in front of their pacifier for another evening.

Reducing the tax burden paid by pubs, would mean that prices in the pub could stay the same - although no doubt some whingers would bang on about not passing on tax cuts to the consumer - as if the consumer must be at the heart of all things. Keeping the price the same would increase the profit margin of the landlord, allowing the landlord to re-invest profits in improved facilities and so on, as well as adding incentive for good people to stay in the business.

John West said...

I agree with the thrust of Velky Al's comments. The supermarket/off licences really ought to pay a far higher premium for selling alcohol as they will not supervise its consumption.

Unknown said...

The supervision thing is an issue. I'm sure it never used to be as easy to buy alcohol as it is today.

Curmudgeon said...

Going back maybe 30 years, supermarkets tended to have separate counters for alcohol, but that largely disappeared in the 1980s so it is not a recent development. There are certainly a lot more corner shops with licences than there used to be, though, and the old-fashioned Threshers offie seems to be a dying breed.