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Anorak | Booze Taxes Have to be Reduced Or The Bootleggers Get The Money

Booze Taxes Have to be Reduced Or The Bootleggers Get The Money

by | 30th, November 2011

DO booze taxes have to be reduced? Well, of course they do; hardened topers like myself insist they must be.

However, there is a more serious point here as well. The reason we tax booze so heavily isn’t, as some might think, to make everyone healthy by keeping them off the sauce. It’s actually because demand has a very low elasticity.

That’s the economists’ posh way of saying that when you put the price up people still buy it. Because, you know, living in modern Britain will drive anyone and everyone to drink. So it’s absolutely the opposite that is true: we don’t tax booze a lot to stop people drinking it but because even when we do tax it people still drink. That means we can get tonnes of money out of taxing booze: and getting tonnes of money is the point of taxing things at all.

However, there is a problem with this. If people just keep on drinking however much tax you add to it, there will come a point where they’ll go off and make their own booze rather than pay the taxes.

Christmas partygoers have been warned off bargain booze that can leave you blind. Eastern European gangs are flooding corner stores and even going door to door selling illicit drink in a £1billion- a-year trade.

Last night trainee accountant Dale Shaw, 27, told how he nearly lost his sight drinking the dodgy liquor. After being invited to a family party, Dale bought a bottle of Drop Vodka from an off-licence in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

He said:

“I’d never heard of the brand before but it was £4 cheaper than the others. After downing a quarter of the bottle, Dale began to feel more drunk than usual and his vision began to blur.But by the next morning he could not see at all and was suffering excruciating pains in the lower half of his body. “As soon as I woke I knew there was something wrong,” he said. “I was in agony and my sight was almost completely gone.”

Dale was taken by a relative to Bradford Royal Infirmary where a doctor immediately recognised he was being poisoned by the bootleg spirits. The cut-price vodka contained methanol – alcohol used in explosives, anti-freeze and racing car fuel – and not the safe ethanol found in legal booze.

And that of course kills people. As happened when a vodka distillery blew up for example.

Yes, I know, the government’s broke, they desperately need the cash: but it’s still true that booze taxes need to be cut. Because at the moment they’re too high, so high that people are killing themselves trying to avoid them. And that’s just too expensive a thing to be happening just to fund five a day diversity real nappy officers.



Posted: 30th, November 2011 | In: Money Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink