Minimum pricing is a hot topic and one that the pub and drinks industry must stand together in opposition to. Therefore there have been a few eyebrows raised by the comments of Dave Daly, landlord of the Castle Hotel and chairman of Blackpool Pubwatch. Whilst admitting minimum pricing did have a “dark side”, he claims it can help to create a safer drinking environment by “slowing down drinkers”.
Furthermore in a move that surprised many other members of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), he openly disclosed the fact that Blackpool licensees have been operating such a voluntary scheme for 12 years. Apparently this means that pubs will not sell drinks for less than £2 in the week and £3 at weekends.
Now most members of the BBPA are of the opinion-as am I-that such measures are a last resort and should only be implemented when forced to by parliament. Lee Le Clercq, the BBPA regional secretary for northern England, summed it up neatly by warning that “such practices can only end in tears”.
Some commentators have cautioned Mr Daly that he also may be leaving himself open for legal action as it could be considered that he is operating an illegal cartel. However, he seems unfazed by this possibility and responded by saying: “Who is going to take us to court when we are doing society a favour?”
I’m no legal beagle, but is that a legitimate legal defence to operating a cartel? Either way, it seems remarkably foolish to try and play the government at its own game and pander to their prejudices. Such self-destructive behaviour can indeed only lead to tears before bedtime.