As you may know, the government has introduced a higher rate of duty for beers above 7.5%. They say it will pay for cutting the duty on beers below 2.8%, but frankly I'm not convinced; anyone who accepts this excuse at face of value has underestimated the deviousness of governments. Having established the principle of different levels of duty, it would be a simple matter in future to reduce the percentage point at which the higher level of duty is payable, say to 6.5% in a couple of years' time, then to 5.5%, and so on, all rationalised by arguments about health, binge drinking and public disorder. Once the principle has been established, changing when the higher rate of duty kicks in is a mere detail.
The social anthropologist Kate Fox argued recently (see my previous post) that scaremongering and punitive tax increases are not only ineffectual but often counter-productive, meaning that government alcohol initiatives are a complete mess. This measure is just more of the same. It's time politicians took a mature and sensible approach to alcohol, not driven by tabloid headlines and the desire to be seen to "do something", believing that doing anything is better than doing nothing. Too often that simply isn't true. Please sign.