Times are tough. We’re living in an age of austerity as our Coalition government embarks on the biggest series of spending cuts in 80 years. Taxes are going up while spending is coming down, yet our debt levels keep rising because we don’t have enough economic growth and unemployment keeps on going up.
So what’s the absolute worst thing that the government could do to a family struggling to make ends meet?
According to Shipley MP, Philip Davies, it’s putting up the price of cheap booze.
The government are considering putting up the price of alcohol to try reduce alcoholism and essentially use the tax system to discourage us from drinking too much.
It’s a typical for any government who believes that the tax system can encourage or discourage us to do things that they want to look at it to influence the behaviour of people in a certain way.
Philip Davies, for instance, talks about his belief that young girls become pregnant to gain access to council housing and child benefits need to be cut to discourage young women becoming pregnant.
Why is that? Because he believes if you cut benefits then you will discourage certain behaviours. It’s basic economics – incentives and disincentives caused by the tax and economic system.
So it’s quite odd to find him so opposed to alcohol pricing as a means of reducing alcohol abuse given his other positions. His reasoning is a mixture of the tired and the odd as well, claiming that it’s the ‘nanny state’ and that if you’re struggling to make ends meet then the ‘last thing’ that you need is ‘the government interfering with the cost of alchohol’.
Now, I’m sure I’m not the only person who can think of several things the government can and indeed are doing that are worse for a struggling family than increasing the cost of non-essential products like alcohol.
Like sacking them.
Or cutting their tax credits.
Or giving them a multi-year pay deal equivalent to a 15-20% wage cut.
Something tells me that making someone pay 50p extra for a couple of litres of cider is going to be the least of their worries after five years of Philip Davies’ party running the country.