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.