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Will the rise in alcohol prices stop us drinking?

By River Reporter Mar 21, 2013

In the face of a rise in minimum alcohol pricing, is the drinking community really going to be affected?

Ben Stevens

We all know that students have a fairly notorious reputation for drinking a little too much and throwing up on the pavement. From my experiences, this reputation is rightly deserved, I have probably contributed to it regularly.

As a group we must accept that we are part of what the government is dubbing a ‘binge drinking epidemic’. But does the government have the right to brand this irresponsible and demonise those who may drink a little too much now and then?

Will it make any difference?

The government’s new controversial plans to raise the minimum price on units of alcohol is an attempt to tackle this country’s binge drinking problem. According to its own figures, government stated that alcohol pricing will cost consumers a predicted additional £100 per year.

I don’t believe that this will or should affect our drinking habits. Firstly, I believe that drinking too much or ‘binging’ is in fact a necessary part of drinking culture. Not to go so far as to say that it is healthy to do so, but in order to realise your limits and learn from them, it is sometimes helpful to go slightly overboard.

I also think it is an important part of being a student. Not only is it an almost unrivaled way of unwinding from a heavy period of essay writing, but the social aspect is incredibly important.

People claim that they have gained equally as much knowledge from their time at university in social situations than they have academically. Now, it is true that drinking is not strictly essential in order to socialise, sometimes quite the opposite, but I certainly have many friends who I probably would never have met nor clicked with were I not drinking.

Not the solution

In the UK we already pay far higher prices for alcohol than the majority of the EU. However UK consumption levels are similar to France or Spain where taxation and general pricing are much lower.

It is true that alcoholism and binge drinking are a problem in this country and are a great strain on the NHS, not to mention are responsible for a huge chunk of crimes committed. History has taught us that demonising such activities only makes the situation worse. This move will do nothing more than ruffle the feathers of the increasingly lairy drinking community, and cause us to lose yet more faith in the government.

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