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The PIT

Ach Some Good News For Once

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I can see a flawed argument at the end of the article from the Alcohol Concern spokesman:

"It is very likely that alcohol consumption will rise again once the economy picks up. So government alcohol policy should ensure alcohol becomes less affordable permanently, not just in an economic downturn."

...yet the evidence earlier in the article says this:

"It's a myth that we need to make alcohol more expensive [to stop people drinking]. These trends are being reversed on their own."

Historically, sales of booze rose and fell with the economy. Recessions in the early 80s and 90s were coupled with a slump in drinking. And the current downturn is having a similar effect. From 2008-2009, alcohol consumption in the UK fell by 6%.

It's good that we are actually seeing a move away from the binge drinking culture- although the longer term graph suggests that it's a very small decrease on the grand scale of things!

The cynic in me suggests that, regardless of the trends in alcohol consumption, "the minority have to spoil it for the majority" and related arguments will be applied repeatedly in small increments over the coming decades to argue for tightening blanket measures to deter the purchase of alcohol (while having minimal impact on the main offenders), fuelled by media campaigns. When the main argument for such measures is that they are necessary because they are necessary, I don't see how they're going to stop anytime soon.

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