Friday, 22 March 2013

Minimum pricing motion

Motion 19 to the CAMRA national AGM in Norwich next month reads:

This conference agrees that CAMRA is on the wrong side of the argument over minimum pricing. It instructs the National Executive to withdraw its support for this measure with immediate effect.
Proposed: Peter Alexander.
Seconded: Graham Donning.

I have written about my opposition to minimum pricing on ReARM many times and in fact had prepared my own AGM motion opposing it. Unfortunately, because I was unwell, I failed to submit it in time, so I'm glad there will be chance to vote, and perhaps to speak, on this issue next month.

In brief, my reasons are that I consider that the phrase "responsible drinking" means that the drinker is responsible both for the quantity that he or she consumes and his or her behaviour. As responsibility rests with the person, not the product, I oppose both excessive taxation and minimum prices on the product, especially as both measures disproportionately affect the people with least money, while having a diminishing impact the higher you go up the income scale. I don't believe that anti-social behaviour and binge drinking are the preserve of the poor alone.

CAMRA's support for minimum pricing is based on the mistaken view that raising supermarket prices will encourage more people to go to the pub, but pub-going has declined, not because of the cheapness of supermarkets, but because of the massive increases in pub prices in recent years caused by the beer duty escalator and pub company greed. Higher supermarket prices will not reduce pub prices by a single penny; they will just make home drinking dearer, and to assume that will benefit pubs is wishful thinking.

It should be an interesting debate.


  1. Indeed, totally agreed. Although as it's last on the order paper it may not get the time it deserves.

    Motion 8: "This Conference requires that the Campaign should actively challenge the health lobby’s anti-alcohol statements to give a more balanced view" may also produce some interesting debate.

    IMV (as you know) this is an argument that too often CAMRA has let go by default in recent years.

  2. I wish you the best of luck and hope you steer the good ship CAMRA ship around. The arguments against minimum pricing are many but at it's core, within your beery club, I think the the argument is basically whether you campaign for real ale, pub going & influencing people or you campaign against anything you or your fellows may disapprove of (down with people that sip a cheeky red at home!) and attempting to coerce people. The former seems a nicer gang to be part of than the latter.

  3. It would be good if both of you could forward some brief bullet points for me to use. I need a bit of help on this.

  4. I'm having a think Tand, and the person what pretends to be cooking lager in order to troll and wind people up will email over the weekend ;)

  5. On its way to you now - good luck with the motion.

    As it looks like the government is going to drop it, and it's illegal anyway under EU law, ultimately it's all academic, but actively supporting it puts CAMRA in a bad light.

  6. CL is right: we are the Campaign FOR Real Ale, not the campaign AGAINST everyone else's drinking choices.
    I had noticed motion 8, Curmudgeon, and am thinking of writing a speech for that too. Unlike motion 19, I doubt 8 will get opposition from the National Executive.


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