Anorak News | It’s official: minimum alcohol pricing is illegal

It’s official: minimum alcohol pricing is illegal

by | 7th, January 2013

I’VE never really understood what the wowsers have been trying to do with this minimum alcohol pricing lark. If you want booze to be more expensive then put the taxes up. At least that way you’ll get some tax revenue. Why you’d want minimum pricing instead I cannot understand: all that does is increase the manufacturers’ profits.

I’m also not really sure why the price has to go up. Boozing has been falling gently for a decade or so, binge drinking is declining. There doesn’t seem to be any emergency that needs a solution.

And worse than that there are some of us who have been saying that minimum pricing is illegal under EU laws. And here we are, here’s the official declaration that it is:

“Where a minimum price is set by a Member State there is a danger that manufacturers from other Member States who wish to obtain a competitive price advantage on the market by charging lower maximum retail selling prices will be placed at a disadvantage. Fixing a minimum price would cancel out the competitive advantage deriving from the lower production cost of the imported product.”
In the case Leclerc the Court considered the effect of measures by the national authorities in France to set minimum prices for fuel. The Court confirmed that minimum prices discriminate against imported products vis-a-vis equivalent domestic products, because imported products with a lower cost base than the equivalent domestic products are deprived of their competitive advantage.
It’s this Single Market stuff. You’re not allowed to discriminate against imports. Thus minimum pricing is illegal.
So as far as I can tell we’ve got the following: a moral panic about something that doesn’t actually seem to be a problem. And a particularly stupid solution being imposed which just happens to be illegal to boot.
So WTF’s going on here? Anyone have any idea? Someone been putting LSD into the water supply or something? Or is stupidity inevitable when The Stupid Party is in power?

Posted: 7th, January 2013 | In: Money Comment | TrackBack | Permalink