Saturday, October 8, 2011

Do the Tories think paying more for alcohol makes it taste better?

David McLetchie, quoted in Tory Hoose -

"Instead the SNP now wants the Treasury to allocate to Scotland our share of the alcohol duty raised here – a kind of drinks supplement to the Barnett Formula. Perversely, this means that the more alcohol that is consumed in Scotland, the more money it will bring in."

Newsflash for Mr McLetchie - that's the "perverse" way duty on tobacco and alcohol has worked for decades, including under innumerable Tory governments.

"Far from tackling the booze culture, the SNP wants to benefit from it."

I don't think anyone is denying that the extra revenue would be a small side-benefit to the health and social objectives that are driving this initiative. But the idea that our booze culture will somehow be worsened is daft beyond words, unless McLetchie thinks the Scottish government are planning a poster campaign imploring people to believe that "Paying More Makes Your Booze Taste Better".


  1. I imagine that, given the oft quoted fact that Scots drink more than the English, we make a proportionally larger contribution to London's tax intake from alcohol.

    We have, it logically follows, a correspondingly greater health/policing/justice spend as a result of that increased intake/tax take.

    It seems to me not unreasonable that we should receive at least a proportion of our spend to deal with the problems that alcohol creates.

    Mr McLetchie seems so remote from the business of government that, as you say, he is oblivious to the fact that successive London governments have benefited in just the way he describes.

  2. That's a pretty damned good point from Tris.

    As for McLetchie, if we use his logic, it seems that far from tackling the booze culture, the UK government like to benefit from it. What is so wrong with the idea of Scotland getting its alcohol taxes? It would certainly answer those who say minimum pricing just increases supermarket profits and that we should use the tax system instead.