Mick Dennison column

Mick Dennison.
Mick Dennison.

We are a fortnight into the new year and suddenly it is starting to feel a little bit like winter, time to break out the Arctic weather wardrobe.

Most of the promenade population of the town have been bracing themselves for Armageddon, which thankfully didn’t happen; the pub scene however has been very patchy in the last couple of weeks.

It seems the diet fad is kicking in with many shunning the pub in pursuit of the perfect body despite all of Sky and BT Sports attempts to entice us out of the house with some big football weekends.

For years, the health lobby have been calling on the Government for a minimum pricing policy on alcohol to prevent supermarkets and off-licences from having incredibly low deals on cans and spirits.

It means for example, if you had a minimum pricing policy, a case of fifteen Lagers at 4% alcohol per can would cost approximately £10.50, not such a good deal now, however because of VAT, alcohol duty and profit margin a pub has to sell the same volume of alcohol at about £45.

These figures show that even with minimum pricing it is cheaper to go to the supermarket as they rarely make a profit on alcohol – they are just loss leaders to get you in to buy other things.

A standard 70cl bottle of vodka would have to be sold at a minimum price of £10, that is roughly thirty five pence a 25ml tot, imagine how cheap that is at the moment with supermarkets able to sell the stuff cheaper than bottled water. Pubs don’t stand a chance of achieving those low figures.

All the figures quoted are calculated on a recommendation of at least forty pence per unit of alcohol. In essence, the off trade are selling alcohol well below the value of VAT and alcohol duty whilst greedy pub companies are squeezing pub tenants out of the trade with impossible mark ups.

Who is to blame – a weak government that caved into the supermarkets and shelved the whole thing? Write to David Morris.