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Anonymous

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I can't see how government can follow the logic that having pubs and clubs having the option of opening 24 hours a day cannot be intextricably linked to an increase in binge drinking.

What will happen in my view is that the revellers will move around town from one pub to the next following the closing times, rather than have to go home at 11pm as they do now. More violence, more police effort needed.

And who's going to pay for this? The council tax payers of course.

Andrew
 

tim

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I thought you might like an ex insiders view and a little potted history:

I worked for ten years in the drinks industry. Over that time more and more regulations were passed and under an act in 1991 brewers were required to limit the number of pubs and drinking establishments that they owned. As drinks making became more and more competitive more and more mergers occurred with the result that the brewers ended up with many more pubs than they were allowed. So they had to sell them to retailing companies like Wetherspoons etc. The outcome of this was that the brewers lost control over how there products were sold and marketed (including pricing). At the same time the retailing pub companies were interested in extracting as much profit from the high street and were able to also start to control the output of the brewers and what price they were prepared to apy for products. This meant that whenever a duty hike was imposed the brewer generally had to swallow this increase while the retailer made more and more profit. To give you an example of the profit differential, the average pint in a keg gets sold to a retailer for between 60 and 80p. The retailer sells it for upwards of £2.50 - you do the maths.

This isn't in anyway a sob story but an important factor that no media source ever explains - most drinks manufacturers are not the retailers yet are still blamed with what goes on in the high street. There isn't a single car on the market that can't break the national speed limit yet the car manufacturers don't get balmed for road deaths caused by excessive speed!

We do have a binge drinking culture (and always have before any yesteryear rose tinted people start in) partly because of our climate but also because of restrictions imposed - remember when pubs only opened at lunchtime and then in the evenings and shut early on Sundays - not just the youth of today piling in drinks before closing time IIRC.

There is only one solution to this which the government is avoiding: It is illegal for a licensee to sell alcohol to an intoxicated person. If they do they can be fined or lose their license. That must be the best and right way to ensure that the control so badly needed is imposed.

If the government do decide to pursue the folly that they are now proposing then what about some of that money going to the long suffering staff of A&E or ambulancemen etc.

The question that really needs to be asked is what is so screwed up with our society that people have to go out and get bladdered and effectively lose their weekends in a haze of hangover? I can't help but think that a lot of it is caused by the meaningless and futility of so many jobs out there that beg the question by the job holder of 'whats the point' - If I worked in a call center all week, I'd be out with them!!

I don't mind if this gets called a rant because I am mad at this ridiculous state of affairs.

Cheers

Tim
 

Chris Knight

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Tim,

Rant or not, it is very interesting. When I was in the oil industry there was also a huge gap between public perceptions and the reality of the profits made in selling petrol.
 
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Anonymous

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Interesting stuff - and thanks for sharing it with us Tim.

It's the same everywhere. I came from the IT industry not so long ago, working as an independent IT contractor. Then the helpful government came along in 1999 and slapped IR35 onto the statute book. Basically this pretends that the IT contractors limited company is a sham (in some cases it rightly is so I won't defend it for every case), and the IT contractor has to treat 95% of income into the company as personal salary. No if's, no but's, just pay a big wedge to government. In some cases this accounts for £10K+ each and every year.

The thought behind government thinking is that the IT contractor is actually a disguised employee of the client he is contracted to. Now this legislation might have been fair IF the disguised client had been responsible for paying employERs National Insurance contributions, and IF the disguised employEE had become entitled to holiday pay, sick pay, redundancy, and all the trimmings that come with regular employment. But of course government avoided doing that - the disguised employEE has to pay the employERs NI, and if he/she is sick or goes on holiday they don't get paid. Period.

And if an IT contractor is a disguised employee who is working for a client, what is a solicitor who is working on a case? Or a footballer who gets paid £000's of pounds each week thru their own limited company? These people aren't subject to IR35.

I'm not making a case that contractors should be immune from paying reasonable level of tax. To be perfectly honest many IT contractors abused the system by paying themselves minimum salary (e.g. 5K a year) and topped it up with 50K dividends each year - dividends don't attract NI payments of any description (you still pay regular tax on them though). Fair do's, something had to be done to stop the abuse.

Government could so easily have solved this problem to everyone's satisfaction by defining that the first 20K of income (pick your own figure) had to be treated as salary, regardless of where the money came from. After that you can choose - so you can retain money in the limited company to pay for training, sickness, holidays, etc. And the likes of Richard Branson and other top execs would be treated exactly the same.

But no, this legislation only applies to small limited companies of the contracting variety - the service industry particularly. I don't complain that government took action to correct an abuse, but I do complain that regardless of whether you actually got the money or not you have to pay tax on it. If you are an entrepreneur trying to spend company money to grow the business you are stuffed because you aren't allowed to offset company expenses above 5%.

And though IT contractors in the main are considered to be relatively well off compared with regular employees (BMW's in car parks etc), when all is taken into account with sick pay, holiday pay, pension schemes, training and a bunch of other things which regular employees get by default the story is somewhat different. A contractor might bring in £50K a year, he's got the expense of running a business (accountants fees and the like), and has to pay employERs as well as employEEs NI, without having any of the benefits. Plus if being a contractor is so rosy, how come more permanent staff don't take the plunge and get rich quick? Reason is that they like their cosy little nest and don't want to take risks - nowt wrong with that, but people who take risks are generally better off and that's because they get paid for it. Clients like the arrangement because it frees them from having workers who gain employment rights.

Interesting front page in the Daily Express yesterday - a single mum on government handouts is £4 a week worse off than a family bringing in a joint income of £25K a year. If you are a single mum bringing up a family on less than £14K a year your child won't have to be crippled with £30K of debt to go to university, they get that further education free of charge with various handouts to make the university course possible. Work out the numbers - where's the motivation to work harder with this taxation nonsense? You are better off sitting at home watching TV and taking the government handouts than stacking shelves at Tescos.

This is a rant too, but in the same vein IR35 is never reported accurately by the media - they swallow the government line that IT contractors pay no tax on their income, which is utter rubbish - if you keep the money in the limited company you get stuffed with corporation tax, if you take the money out (in dividends or salary) you have to account for it on your personal tax return. But pretending that in all cases 95% of company income is personal income is just plain stupid.

Incidentally, I refer to the IT industry above. IR35 was recently extended to cover nannies, gardeners and anyone else who provides a service. Some of the people on this forum might actually be subject to IR35 if they carry out work for another company.

Andrew
 

Sgian Dubh

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Andrew, I recall the early to mid-'70's when in Scotland closing time was 10 pm. There was a well known phenomenum(sp?) at about 9:45 or 9:50. Guys would dive for the bar and order 2, 3, or even 4 pints and skull them fast.

Then they'd all fall out of the bars and into the gutter for a major stramash. This usually kept the cops and A&E departments busy until about 1 or 2 in the morning.

There were hotels and private clubs you could go to for more drink, but it was often a hassle and you often had to pay to get in for what was likely not what you really wanted to do.

Then the law changed-- 1976 I think, and opening times became pretty flexible. I seem to recall that reports reckoned many of the booze caused behavioural problems fell. I could be wrong on that, but that's what I remember.

Whatever, the change in the law made going out for a few pints much more civilised from this drinkers point of view, but then I'm a natural night owl and often don't want to go out for a beer until 10:30 or 11 pm, which makes the 11 pm closing in England a bit too early for me, ha, ha! Slainte.
 
G

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I think the main reason for binge drinking is that younger people can afford it.When I was young we didn't have as much free pay BUT if we had we would have been just the same as today's youngsters.We got drunk less often but just as drunk,it's part of growing up although some never do grow up.
 

Scott

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I know a guy who lives in the Isle of Man and he reckons things quietened down noticeably when the hours were done away with. The eejits weren't all tipping the stuff over their throats as quickly as possible to get the max into them before closing time and the pubs weren't chucking them all out on the street at the same time to start hurling insults, glasses and fists at each other.

Dunno how it's going nowadays over there (that was 2 or 3 years ago) but it seems to back up what Sgian Dubh is saying.

Personally I've moved to France where they have a totally different attitude to drinking (even though they're all at it all the time!) and the ones who have been to the UK and seen the fights and the baseball-capped loons wallowing in their own puke at 11:30 in the evening are horrified. Quite frankly, so am I! It's embarrassing!

I gave up wondering what's wrong with this country and moved out!

Starting to sound like my Dad now so I'll shut up!.... :roll:
 

Adam

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HandyMac":3de42h3m said:
will happen in my view is that the revellers will move around town from one pub to the next following the closing times, rather than have to go home at 11pm as they do now. More violence, more police effort needed.
I disagree, rather than having to neck a decent number of pints before 11, I'd take it a bit easier, and then leave at 12, 1, 2 or whatever when me and the missus feel tired. We go for a drink regualrly with some Spanish friends and they, no doubt would stay out longer than us as its more their culture. So it would distribute the people out on the street over a much longer period - something which would make it easier to police as they don't have to deal with such a large peak in problems. If I was in a pub at say 12, or 1, I wouldn't go looking for the next pub, that'd be when I'd leave, just like the fact their are quite a few pubs here that open till 12 - and I don't go rushing to get in there - even if I'm close.

So I'll have to agree to disagree with your views entirely!

BTW - I can't hang around any longer as I need to get to the pub for 8 to meet some mates, and we've only got three hours to get those jars in.

Byeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

Adam :oops: :roll: :shock: :D
 

Midnight

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I got to thinkin.... when last did ya see droves of auld farts pourin outa the pubs come closin time, takin the scenic route home, raisin a riot???
No.??
Exactly what I was thinkin... it's predominantly the domain of the "young an daft" generation... so surely the solution would be to pursue drinking with the same missionary zeal as is currently targeted against smoking..??

First logical step would be to plaster huge warning labels all over beer bottles n cans....

Warning from H.M.G... drinking causes brewers droop... os some other nonsence...

next... raise the duty by double the rate of inflation every year...

next... ban drinking in public places... canna have people inflicting the general public with beer breath etc...

next... raise the legal drinking age... 40 sound about right...???? see the first question above...

next... break the connection between drinking and driving... apply a 100% surcharge to car insurance to anyone who drinks on a regular basis... anyone cought drink driving... give em an automatic 5 year sentence.

Startin to sound stupid now..??? Remember that missionary zeal thing...?? Remember, we're on a mission with this...


I got no prob with people having a civilised drink; nothing wrong with that at all; my prob is with the jar heads who think they can try to drink the pubs dry well into the wee sma' hours.. yet be fit enough to drive to work in the morning.. That kinda ******* pushes my car insurence up every year... why should I have to pay for their stupidity?? Why should I be put at risk when they're on the road?? Granted, in a collision I've a fair chance of driving away with my Landrover, but that's beside the point...

Och... I'm ranting... enough already...!!!!
 
A

Anonymous

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Won't catch on Mike - our dear old chancellor won't like it if people don't drink. Same for smoking, could save a fortune for the NHS but the taxes collected from fag purchases keep the NHS afloat.

I wouldn't have a problem if there was a zero tolerance level for drink. I never drink and drive, I'll risk a half-pint but that's my lot. If the limit was zero I'd do okay on orange juice and lemonade.

Question is - why do they allow pubs to have car parks? I'd be very happy if the police were given permission to sit on the exit gate of the car parks breathalysing everyone who left, but that's not politically correct so it will never be done.

Andrew
 
A

Anonymous

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Now, this is a subject that I'm constantly shouting at Jeremy Vine about...ok, he can't hear me, cos I've not actually phoned him...but...

What is binge drinking? Well, by definition, it's the drinking of a large amount of alcohol in a short space of time. So, by that definition, the current ridiculous licensing laws encourage binge drinking - people, on a Friday night, getting home from work, eating tea, showering, whatever...hit the pubs at 9PM, have til 11 for last orders, neck 5, 6, 7, 8 pints, drunk, violent, fall over, etc etc.

Is it a coincidence that we, the UK, with our draconic licensing laws are the worst offenders in western Europe for binge drinking? No, I think not. I have lived, worked, drunk in, been drunk in many countries across the world, including seeing the sun set and then rise again from the same seat in the same bar!

My prediction is this - the current generation of 'yoofs' will continue to drink too fast, cos it's what they know, but they'll drink for longer, so there will be an increase in anti-social behaviour. Now, hopefully, this won't put the government off the idea and we retain the more liberal rules...the next generation will be used to the longer drinking hours - they'll take their time drinking their pints. There'll be 'shifts' of drinkers, those starting earlier, drinking their fill and going home as the next shift comes on. People will start going to restaurants later, knowing the pub'll be open after they've finished their meal...

In short, we'll join the 20th century, like the rest of Europe did when it WAS the 20th century.

My tuppence worth.
 
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