Monday, 11 April 2016

C2H6O rules

Apparently the petition against banning shops making discount offers on alcohol is the biggest we have ever seen in the Island.  I can grasp that people might sign simply as a mechanism to register a protest on the performance of the States.  But for it to be even bigger than the petition to remove GST on food seems odd to me.  Admittedly the population has increased a little since then, but even allowing for that, it seems to have been signed by a bigger fraction of the population.

The latest spending survey I can find was in 2009/10.  From that the average weekly spending can be derived:

Food & non-alcoholic drinks  £73.70   , of which   gst 3.51,  alcohol   £9.10  

The average household would have to be buying all its alcohol at a 40% reduction to be financially better of than removing the GST on food.  Of course there are some skewed factors in there - a proportion of households do not buy or consume alcohol, though I image almost all buy food.  

One to the key reasons for the pricing  prohibition is the detrimental health impacts of drinking.  That is clearly true in excess , but of course there are plenty of unhealthy foods too.  I am coming to the conclusion that collectively our lifestyles in the Island are outrageously unhealthy. I don't have figures to demonstrate that, but there is a study I came across from the USA that I think is indicative.

This study looked at  4,745 people across the USA and assessed them on four simple criteria of healthy lifestyle.
  • 71 percent of adults didn't smoke
  • 38 percent of adults ate a healthy diet
  • 10 percent had a normal body fat percentage 
  • 46 percent were sufficiently active 
However only 2.7%   meet all four !

The reaction to the  pricing proposal interests me from another angle too.  I think it demonstrates just how deskilled and dependent we have become.   It really isn't hard to ferment a drinkable wine - and some like gorse flower are nectar.  Cider can be made with nothing more than mashed apples if you want to, though you will get more reliable results if you use steriliser and yeast too.  Sure if you are a well paid fund manager or lawyer you might argue your time is more valuable spent earning  money that making wine, but then  you won't be material affected by the pricing policy.  

I shouldn't be surprised.  We've come to a state where there are people making money walking other people's dogs , and companies that put together flat pack furniture!

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