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NUS Calls for Minimum Drinks Prices, And More

Apr 03 2009 15:13
Ashley Brown
NUS Conference finished yesterday, passing an awful lot of motions including coming out in favour of minimum drinks prices.
Conference delegates enjoy the ACTS disco in flares, before voting for minimum alcohol pricing (Photo: Drew Stearne)

The NUS Annual Conference finished yesterday, having discussed a variety of topics over three days - as expected, with reforms finally through there was more time to spend discussing real student issues.

'All you can drink' and ?three for the price of one? offers encourage students to drink to dangerous levels.
NUS President Wes Streeting

One of the decisions which is causing a stir is the decision to investigate minimum drinks pricing in student unions, something certain publications have found rather bizarre. Even more bizarre is that the publication in question, The Register, has used ICU as an example of how even higher than normal turnouts are still quite low, so the NUS might not represent all students, missing the point that our thirteen thousand students are not members at all.

NUS President Wes Streeting, re-elected with 81% of the votes at conference, told The Times

"Students' unions work hard to inform their members of the dangers of excessive drinking. But more can be done. 'All you can drink' and ?three for the price of one? offers encourage students to drink to dangerous levels."

Delegates to the conference voted to start a consultation to look at setting a minimum price for alcohol in students unions, something which could be achieved by NUS Services Limited pushing its prices up or local unions taking higher profits.

A long debate about initiations was also had, with some unions calling for the NUS to stop opposing them and help regulate them, while others wanted to see continued opposition. In the end the conference sat on the fence, with the NUS to oppose initiations, but also to give assistance to unions seeking to regulate the manner in which they take place.

Live! will not go into more detail on the finer points - the NUS has done that itself for those who are interested. See Session 1, Session 2, Session 3 and Session 4.

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Discussion about “NUS Calls for Minimum Drinks Prices, And More”

The comments below are unmoderated submissions by Live! readers. The Editor accepts no liability for their content, nor for any offence caused by them. Any complaints should be directed to the Editor.
May 27 2009 15:15

When discussing the taxation of alcohol, John Stuart Mill stated that ?every increase of cost is a prohibition, to those whose means do not come up to the augmented price.? Following this logic, minimum drinks pricing is far more prohibitionist than alcohol taxation.

Due to revenue concerns, Mill does support the taxation of alcohol up to a point. However, he would not have supported a prohibitionist law that would lead to a decrease in revenue for the State, certainly in terms of opportunity cost.

Another Mill quote related to restrictions on alcohol-licensed venues is of note here. Minimum pricing sounds exactly like a policy that would be enacted in ?a state of society in which the labouring classes are avowedly treated as children or savages.?

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