Drinks companies have torn up a voluntary agreement banning happy-hours and other aggressive drinks promotions, which will affect over half the country’s pubs. The agreements covered a ban on incentives that encourage people to consume massive amounts of alcohol in a short time and have been dropped the trade body, the British Beer and Pub Association, say that they have legal opinion that such an agreement contradicts European competition laws. This has led even the Association of Chief Police Officers to call for action to be taken against the free market in the form of government legislation!
Fuelling Binge Drinking
The director of the world’s biggest drinks group Diageo was even quoted in the Guardian (28/7/08) as saying “There is no direct evidence that pricing affects consumption.” But then why would the drinks companies bother with pricing promotions if it wasn’t leading to increased sales? Even prior to this announcement, the UK’s biggest nightclub operator, Luminar, had begun introducing offers like 80p for all drinks.
Clearly, increased drinks sales, means increased alcohol consumption leading to a further increase in the binge drinking problem. Obviously there is massive health problems associated with binge drinking, in particular the fact that around a million admissions to accident and emergency wards are alcohol related.
But binge drinking is not just about the availability of cheap drinks, it is also related to the need for many people to escape from the daily stress that affects them in their everyday lives. Fundamentally, if we wish to tackle binge drinking, it is this that we also need to tackle.