Politicians mull super strength booze ban in Hertfordshire

Politicians mull super strength booze ban in Hertfordshire

Politicians mull super strength booze ban in Hertfordshire

First published in News
Last updated
Watford Observer: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Politicians are pondering banning super strength booze from shop shelves in Hertfordshire in a bid to reduce the £400m taxpayer bill caused by binge drinking.

Hertfordshire County Council's cabinet has voted to explore running a similar scheme to one in Ipswich, which banned super strength lagers and ciders being sold over the counter.

With drinking in pubs and nightclubs increasingly seen as expensive, there are concerns some people use strong alcoholic drinks from supermarkets and off-licences before going out.

The move comes as the new Hertfordshire Alcohol Strategic Plan was approved.

Jim McManus, director of public health at Hertfordshire County Council, said the scheme could be implemented in Hertfordshire if it is successful in Ipswich.

He said: "They are hoping it will reduce the amount of cheap, strong drinks so people may be less likely to pre-load on very very strong drinks. We might see a reduction in the alcohol levels in people’s blood.

"They are also hoping that there might be a reduction in alcohol-related violence.

"If it looks like it will work here, it might do the trick here, but we are still looking at it."

The proposals will also allow Hertfordshire Constabulary to carry out "stings" to find licensed premises selling alcohol to underage teenagers.

In other developments, there will be a number of initiatives to "educate" people about the effects of harmful levels of drinking and a targeted drink driving campaign will be introduced.

Between 2010 and 2013, there was an increase in the number of people arrested for drink driving. In 2010 and 2011, 71 people were arrested for drink driving, but in 2012/2013, this spiked at 106.

Watford Observer:

Cost of alcohol abuse in Hertfordshire.

Local schools will also be involved with the new proposals, with teachers being encouraged to talk about alcohol, both at primary and secondary schools.

Though the county has fewer alcohol-related hospital admissions than the national average, the number of people across the area that are drinking "high" risk amounts, is above than the national average.

The Department of Health claims there is "strong evidence" that for every £1 invested in specialist alcohol treatment, £5 is saved on health, welfare and crime.

The Alcohol Strategic Plan is part of Hertfordshire County Council’s public health strategy, which ties in the plan to cut smoking and obesity across the county.

Mr McManus added: "We published a health strategy last year and indicated some of our big priorities- healthy weight, physical activity, alcohol use and cutting smoking and put forward an action plan that says what we will do on each of these, so they all tie in."

Comments (19)

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10:34am Wed 28 May 14

Andrew1963 says...

What is the definition of super strength cider/beer? Does it have as much alcohol by volume as Single Malt whiskey or Pink Gin? Drink driving is morally as well as legally wrong, but i am surprised that Hertfordshire (population 1 million+) with main road routes from the capital and criss-crossed by main roads, only generates two arrest a week for the offensive. Where there other demographic factors that changed between 2010 and 2013 that could account for it?
What is the definition of super strength cider/beer? Does it have as much alcohol by volume as Single Malt whiskey or Pink Gin? Drink driving is morally as well as legally wrong, but i am surprised that Hertfordshire (population 1 million+) with main road routes from the capital and criss-crossed by main roads, only generates two arrest a week for the offensive. Where there other demographic factors that changed between 2010 and 2013 that could account for it? Andrew1963
  • Score: 6

11:17am Wed 28 May 14

RadioactiveRant says...

I think the people drinking till 2/3am in the town centres are a bigger problem than the odd tramp on cheap "super strength" cider/lager. Id prefer a local sales tax on premises open after 10 selling alcohol.
I think the people drinking till 2/3am in the town centres are a bigger problem than the odd tramp on cheap "super strength" cider/lager. Id prefer a local sales tax on premises open after 10 selling alcohol. RadioactiveRant
  • Score: 3

11:28am Wed 28 May 14

E.Coli says...

RadioactiveRant wrote:
I think the people drinking till 2/3am in the town centres are a bigger problem than the odd tramp on cheap "super strength" cider/lager. Id prefer a local sales tax on premises open after 10 selling alcohol.
If you look around Watford you may notice it is not the odd tramp having a can of beer,but large groups drinking and causing trouble they could be from Eastern Europe.
[quote][p][bold]RadioactiveRant[/bold] wrote: I think the people drinking till 2/3am in the town centres are a bigger problem than the odd tramp on cheap "super strength" cider/lager. Id prefer a local sales tax on premises open after 10 selling alcohol.[/p][/quote]If you look around Watford you may notice it is not the odd tramp having a can of beer,but large groups drinking and causing trouble they could be from Eastern Europe. E.Coli
  • Score: 8

12:11pm Wed 28 May 14

TFEB says...

No wonder you see people on the streets of Borehamwood drinking, most of the pubs have closed. Open more pubs and get drinkers off the streets.
No wonder you see people on the streets of Borehamwood drinking, most of the pubs have closed. Open more pubs and get drinkers off the streets. TFEB
  • Score: 6

12:20pm Wed 28 May 14

gasguzzler says...

Utter rubbish !
Hertfordshire County Council can't legally ban shop keepers from just selling super strength beer/cider.
The County Council would have to rely on retailers voluntarily removing these products from their shelves themselves and as there is good profit to be made from Watford's growing street drinking community who would do that ?

It beggars belief how you can give anyone and everyone from your local newsagent to the petrol garage a licence to sell alcohol expect them not to do so.
Utter rubbish ! Hertfordshire County Council can't legally ban shop keepers from just selling super strength beer/cider. The County Council would have to rely on retailers voluntarily removing these products from their shelves themselves and as there is good profit to be made from Watford's growing street drinking community who would do that ? It beggars belief how you can give anyone and everyone from your local newsagent to the petrol garage a licence to sell alcohol expect them not to do so. gasguzzler
  • Score: 9

1:14pm Wed 28 May 14

Markcr0 says...

TFEB wrote:
No wonder you see people on the streets of Borehamwood drinking, most of the pubs have closed. Open more pubs and get drinkers off the streets.
While reducing the number of shops permitted to sell alcohol.
[quote][p][bold]TFEB[/bold] wrote: No wonder you see people on the streets of Borehamwood drinking, most of the pubs have closed. Open more pubs and get drinkers off the streets.[/p][/quote]While reducing the number of shops permitted to sell alcohol. Markcr0
  • Score: 3

1:31pm Wed 28 May 14

garston tony says...

Just ban alcohol altogether, not only would you save this £400 million a year but drinkers would have more money to spend on other things boosting other parts of the economy and all the social problems associated with alcohol would disapear just like that. Result, where do I vote?
Just ban alcohol altogether, not only would you save this £400 million a year but drinkers would have more money to spend on other things boosting other parts of the economy and all the social problems associated with alcohol would disapear just like that. Result, where do I vote? garston tony
  • Score: -11

1:53pm Wed 28 May 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

garston tony wrote:
Just ban alcohol altogether, not only would you save this £400 million a year but drinkers would have more money to spend on other things boosting other parts of the economy and all the social problems associated with alcohol would disapear just like that. Result, where do I vote?
People should be free to drink responsibly and the government should stand back and let them. Taxes should be reduced to take the pressure of pubs.

If there are problem drinkers, it is they who should feel the force of the law and receive the help of the health services.

The perfectly responsible and innocent majority should be left to enjoy their drinks in peace and quiet.
[quote][p][bold]garston tony[/bold] wrote: Just ban alcohol altogether, not only would you save this £400 million a year but drinkers would have more money to spend on other things boosting other parts of the economy and all the social problems associated with alcohol would disapear just like that. Result, where do I vote?[/p][/quote]People should be free to drink responsibly and the government should stand back and let them. Taxes should be reduced to take the pressure of pubs. If there are problem drinkers, it is they who should feel the force of the law and receive the help of the health services. The perfectly responsible and innocent majority should be left to enjoy their drinks in peace and quiet. Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: 4

3:32pm Wed 28 May 14

garston tony says...

Whilst I am a tea totaller I was only kidding!

I agree most people drink responsibly (well, as responsibly as you can drink alcohol anyway!) but as the article points out education is needed to stop people abusing it in a way that is detrimental to them, those around them and to the rest of us who have to cough up to cover the cost
Whilst I am a tea totaller I was only kidding! I agree most people drink responsibly (well, as responsibly as you can drink alcohol anyway!) but as the article points out education is needed to stop people abusing it in a way that is detrimental to them, those around them and to the rest of us who have to cough up to cover the cost garston tony
  • Score: 2

3:36pm Wed 28 May 14

LSC says...

garston tony wrote:
Just ban alcohol altogether, not only would you save this £400 million a year but drinkers would have more money to spend on other things boosting other parts of the economy and all the social problems associated with alcohol would disapear just like that. Result, where do I vote?
I wish we could be told the real maths, on how much Duty, VAT and corporate tax paid by the manufacturers adds up into this equation. Duty alone on strong beer is £0.24 (per litre), then VAT on the price of that and the product itself. I can't calculate how much the distribution, storage, taxing the lorries, paying the fuel, workers in warehouses paying income tax and so on is.
I reckon it all about balances out.
[quote][p][bold]garston tony[/bold] wrote: Just ban alcohol altogether, not only would you save this £400 million a year but drinkers would have more money to spend on other things boosting other parts of the economy and all the social problems associated with alcohol would disapear just like that. Result, where do I vote?[/p][/quote]I wish we could be told the real maths, on how much Duty, VAT and corporate tax paid by the manufacturers adds up into this equation. Duty alone on strong beer is £0.24 (per litre), then VAT on the price of that and the product itself. I can't calculate how much the distribution, storage, taxing the lorries, paying the fuel, workers in warehouses paying income tax and so on is. I reckon it all about balances out. LSC
  • Score: 2

3:37pm Wed 28 May 14

garston tony says...

Just as a point to ponder, I wonder how many people who would be against banning alcohol would be pro keeping drugs illegal? Yet some of those drugs have a lower effect than alcohol and alcohol is the root cause of a substantial amount of problems that cost us all a shed load in tax to deal with (let alone the costs to individuals and those around them).

Personally my line is drawn at banning certain types of un healthy foods, I love my chocolate and high fat and sugar contents in foods is what tingles my taste buds and two fingers up to the health implications (what is it, one third of Brits obese, rise in heart conditions etc. Pah, worth it)
Just as a point to ponder, I wonder how many people who would be against banning alcohol would be pro keeping drugs illegal? Yet some of those drugs have a lower effect than alcohol and alcohol is the root cause of a substantial amount of problems that cost us all a shed load in tax to deal with (let alone the costs to individuals and those around them). Personally my line is drawn at banning certain types of un healthy foods, I love my chocolate and high fat and sugar contents in foods is what tingles my taste buds and two fingers up to the health implications (what is it, one third of Brits obese, rise in heart conditions etc. Pah, worth it) garston tony
  • Score: 0

3:40pm Wed 28 May 14

garston tony says...

LSC wrote:
garston tony wrote: Just ban alcohol altogether, not only would you save this £400 million a year but drinkers would have more money to spend on other things boosting other parts of the economy and all the social problems associated with alcohol would disapear just like that. Result, where do I vote?
I wish we could be told the real maths, on how much Duty, VAT and corporate tax paid by the manufacturers adds up into this equation. Duty alone on strong beer is £0.24 (per litre), then VAT on the price of that and the product itself. I can't calculate how much the distribution, storage, taxing the lorries, paying the fuel, workers in warehouses paying income tax and so on is. I reckon it all about balances out.
Maybe the actual costs balance out, maybe they dont.

But what cost do you put on a wife or kid who gets beaten cause the dads had a little too much to drink? Or someone whose got to wait longer in a&e to be seen because some teenage lout had a skinful and they and their friends are giving staff a hard time? Or someone whose lost a loved one because theyve been driven into by a drunk driver. Or.......

Somethings you cant put a monetary value on, just a thought
[quote][p][bold]LSC[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]garston tony[/bold] wrote: Just ban alcohol altogether, not only would you save this £400 million a year but drinkers would have more money to spend on other things boosting other parts of the economy and all the social problems associated with alcohol would disapear just like that. Result, where do I vote?[/p][/quote]I wish we could be told the real maths, on how much Duty, VAT and corporate tax paid by the manufacturers adds up into this equation. Duty alone on strong beer is £0.24 (per litre), then VAT on the price of that and the product itself. I can't calculate how much the distribution, storage, taxing the lorries, paying the fuel, workers in warehouses paying income tax and so on is. I reckon it all about balances out.[/p][/quote]Maybe the actual costs balance out, maybe they dont. But what cost do you put on a wife or kid who gets beaten cause the dads had a little too much to drink? Or someone whose got to wait longer in a&e to be seen because some teenage lout had a skinful and they and their friends are giving staff a hard time? Or someone whose lost a loved one because theyve been driven into by a drunk driver. Or....... Somethings you cant put a monetary value on, just a thought garston tony
  • Score: -4

3:48pm Wed 28 May 14

Phil Cox (UKIP) says...

garston tony wrote:
Just as a point to ponder, I wonder how many people who would be against banning alcohol would be pro keeping drugs illegal? Yet some of those drugs have a lower effect than alcohol and alcohol is the root cause of a substantial amount of problems that cost us all a shed load in tax to deal with (let alone the costs to individuals and those around them). Personally my line is drawn at banning certain types of un healthy foods, I love my chocolate and high fat and sugar contents in foods is what tingles my taste buds and two fingers up to the health implications (what is it, one third of Brits obese, rise in heart conditions etc. Pah, worth it)
It's a difficult one Tony, maybe some drugs should be legalised rather than criminalising so many young people. There's a serious and honest debate to be had there.

I am totally with you on the food police issue.

Fat people are not fat because they eat fatty or sugary foods, they are fat because they eat too much food and exercise too little. It is a change to their lifestyle that is required, again, education, not the altering of foods that the majority of us like and do not cause us any problems.

Have you noticed how the standard answer to all this is down to one of two options?

More taxes or ban them altogether.

Politicians are a curse, they think they are the answer to everything when what they should be doing is letting people get on with their lives.
[quote][p][bold]garston tony[/bold] wrote: Just as a point to ponder, I wonder how many people who would be against banning alcohol would be pro keeping drugs illegal? Yet some of those drugs have a lower effect than alcohol and alcohol is the root cause of a substantial amount of problems that cost us all a shed load in tax to deal with (let alone the costs to individuals and those around them). Personally my line is drawn at banning certain types of un healthy foods, I love my chocolate and high fat and sugar contents in foods is what tingles my taste buds and two fingers up to the health implications (what is it, one third of Brits obese, rise in heart conditions etc. Pah, worth it)[/p][/quote]It's a difficult one Tony, maybe some drugs should be legalised rather than criminalising so many young people. There's a serious and honest debate to be had there. I am totally with you on the food police issue. Fat people are not fat because they eat fatty or sugary foods, they are fat because they eat too much food and exercise too little. It is a change to their lifestyle that is required, again, education, not the altering of foods that the majority of us like and do not cause us any problems. Have you noticed how the standard answer to all this is down to one of two options? More taxes or ban them altogether. Politicians are a curse, they think they are the answer to everything when what they should be doing is letting people get on with their lives. Phil Cox (UKIP)
  • Score: 4

4:20pm Wed 28 May 14

John_W says...

TFEB wrote:
No wonder you see people on the streets of Borehamwood drinking, most of the pubs have closed. Open more pubs and get drinkers off the streets.
Shenley road, plus the north ends of Cardinal and Hillside avenue are alcohol free zones (though the signs are almost worn away).
I would be curious to know how many people have been prosecuted/fined/cau
tioned for drinking in the zone.
[quote][p][bold]TFEB[/bold] wrote: No wonder you see people on the streets of Borehamwood drinking, most of the pubs have closed. Open more pubs and get drinkers off the streets.[/p][/quote]Shenley road, plus the north ends of Cardinal and Hillside avenue are alcohol free zones (though the signs are almost worn away). I would be curious to know how many people have been prosecuted/fined/cau tioned for drinking in the zone. John_W
  • Score: 2

9:50pm Wed 28 May 14

LSC says...

garston tony wrote:
LSC wrote:
garston tony wrote: Just ban alcohol altogether, not only would you save this £400 million a year but drinkers would have more money to spend on other things boosting other parts of the economy and all the social problems associated with alcohol would disapear just like that. Result, where do I vote?
I wish we could be told the real maths, on how much Duty, VAT and corporate tax paid by the manufacturers adds up into this equation. Duty alone on strong beer is £0.24 (per litre), then VAT on the price of that and the product itself. I can't calculate how much the distribution, storage, taxing the lorries, paying the fuel, workers in warehouses paying income tax and so on is. I reckon it all about balances out.
Maybe the actual costs balance out, maybe they dont.

But what cost do you put on a wife or kid who gets beaten cause the dads had a little too much to drink? Or someone whose got to wait longer in a&e to be seen because some teenage lout had a skinful and they and their friends are giving staff a hard time? Or someone whose lost a loved one because theyve been driven into by a drunk driver. Or.......

Somethings you cant put a monetary value on, just a thought
Fair points, but the article started the monetary debate, not me, and if they are going to do so, let's see the full picture.
[quote][p][bold]garston tony[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]LSC[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]garston tony[/bold] wrote: Just ban alcohol altogether, not only would you save this £400 million a year but drinkers would have more money to spend on other things boosting other parts of the economy and all the social problems associated with alcohol would disapear just like that. Result, where do I vote?[/p][/quote]I wish we could be told the real maths, on how much Duty, VAT and corporate tax paid by the manufacturers adds up into this equation. Duty alone on strong beer is £0.24 (per litre), then VAT on the price of that and the product itself. I can't calculate how much the distribution, storage, taxing the lorries, paying the fuel, workers in warehouses paying income tax and so on is. I reckon it all about balances out.[/p][/quote]Maybe the actual costs balance out, maybe they dont. But what cost do you put on a wife or kid who gets beaten cause the dads had a little too much to drink? Or someone whose got to wait longer in a&e to be seen because some teenage lout had a skinful and they and their friends are giving staff a hard time? Or someone whose lost a loved one because theyve been driven into by a drunk driver. Or....... Somethings you cant put a monetary value on, just a thought[/p][/quote]Fair points, but the article started the monetary debate, not me, and if they are going to do so, let's see the full picture. LSC
  • Score: 1

8:14am Thu 29 May 14

Billy_Boy says...

Mr McManus added: "We published a health strategy last year and indicated some of our big priorities- healthy weight, physical activity, alcohol use and cutting smoking and put forward an action plan that says what we will do on each of these, so they all tie in." Mr McManus sounds like another member of the health Stasi....I don't pay my Council Tax to pay you (a good salary I would assume) to tell me what I should or should not put into my mouth - it's none of your concern. I'm an adult with full mental faculties intact and am quite able to consider the evidence (such as it is) to come to a conclusion. This country is heading the way of North Korea where a small out of touch elite hand down diktats that we have to obey without question, or if we do we're threatened, bullied and coerced, oe even prosecuted.
Mr McManus added: "We published a health strategy last year and indicated some of our big priorities- healthy weight, physical activity, alcohol use and cutting smoking and put forward an action plan that says what we will do on each of these, so they all tie in." Mr McManus sounds like another member of the health Stasi....I don't pay my Council Tax to pay you (a good salary I would assume) to tell me what I should or should not put into my mouth - it's none of your concern. I'm an adult with full mental faculties intact and am quite able to consider the evidence (such as it is) to come to a conclusion. This country is heading the way of North Korea where a small out of touch elite hand down diktats that we have to obey without question, or if we do we're threatened, bullied and coerced, oe even prosecuted. Billy_Boy
  • Score: 5

12:16pm Thu 29 May 14

garston tony says...

I dont get why people get so uptight when advice comes out to do this or that to be more healthy.

Yes its your body and I get why you want to be allowed to do what you want with it, but why get agitated at someone when they inform you if you do this or that you're increasing your chances of decreasing your quality of life or actual life expectancy? Surely its better to have all the facts in front of you?

The problem is that there is always going to be an element who are too irresponsible and in doing what they want to their own bodies (and minds) incur a cost (not always financial) the wider community. So i'd say it is quite right that the government has some say in limiting the excesses, put it simply some people are too stupid to stay within reasonable boundaries of their own accord and it is for everyones good that limits are set.
I dont get why people get so uptight when advice comes out to do this or that to be more healthy. Yes its your body and I get why you want to be allowed to do what you want with it, but why get agitated at someone when they inform you if you do this or that you're increasing your chances of decreasing your quality of life or actual life expectancy? Surely its better to have all the facts in front of you? The problem is that there is always going to be an element who are too irresponsible and in doing what they want to their own bodies (and minds) incur a cost (not always financial) the wider community. So i'd say it is quite right that the government has some say in limiting the excesses, put it simply some people are too stupid to stay within reasonable boundaries of their own accord and it is for everyones good that limits are set. garston tony
  • Score: 0

12:17pm Thu 29 May 14

garston tony says...

Just this morning on the radio they had a phone in about someones idea of charging £1 per ciggy as a means of encouraging people to reduce or stop smoking. There was this story on about this person whose neighbour recently died but who had been housebound for the last 8 or so years of their life as due to their smoking habits they couldnt walk far and needed oxygen tanks etc. The next caller was all agitated going on about how over a life time the amount of taxes he'd have paid buying cigs he would have 'earnt' his oxygen tank and mask when it came to it.

And i'm like, seriously you're actually willing to fight to keep this habit that is likely to make your quality of life extremely poor if it doesnt kill you first!

Education is key, and the chap above certainly needs it! But until the message takes effect I see nothing wrong in the government taking steps that ultimately are for our own good
Just this morning on the radio they had a phone in about someones idea of charging £1 per ciggy as a means of encouraging people to reduce or stop smoking. There was this story on about this person whose neighbour recently died but who had been housebound for the last 8 or so years of their life as due to their smoking habits they couldnt walk far and needed oxygen tanks etc. The next caller was all agitated going on about how over a life time the amount of taxes he'd have paid buying cigs he would have 'earnt' his oxygen tank and mask when it came to it. And i'm like, seriously you're actually willing to fight to keep this habit that is likely to make your quality of life extremely poor if it doesnt kill you first! Education is key, and the chap above certainly needs it! But until the message takes effect I see nothing wrong in the government taking steps that ultimately are for our own good garston tony
  • Score: 0

11:05am Tue 17 Jun 14

fugu says...

LSC wrote:
garston tony wrote:
Just ban alcohol altogether, not only would you save this £400 million a year but drinkers would have more money to spend on other things boosting other parts of the economy and all the social problems associated with alcohol would disapear just like that. Result, where do I vote?
I wish we could be told the real maths, on how much Duty, VAT and corporate tax paid by the manufacturers adds up into this equation. Duty alone on strong beer is £0.24 (per litre), then VAT on the price of that and the product itself. I can't calculate how much the distribution, storage, taxing the lorries, paying the fuel, workers in warehouses paying income tax and so on is.
I reckon it all about balances out.
You've massively underestimater the beer durty and vat on high strength beer.


Beer Duty is £18.74 per 100l per %.

High Strength beer duty on top of this is £5.29 per 100l per %

(£18.74+£5.29)*8%/
100=£1.92 duty on 1l of 8% beer.

Once you add the VAT on top the government's profit is £2.31 per litre! Nearly 10 times your figure!
[quote][p][bold]LSC[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]garston tony[/bold] wrote: Just ban alcohol altogether, not only would you save this £400 million a year but drinkers would have more money to spend on other things boosting other parts of the economy and all the social problems associated with alcohol would disapear just like that. Result, where do I vote?[/p][/quote]I wish we could be told the real maths, on how much Duty, VAT and corporate tax paid by the manufacturers adds up into this equation. Duty alone on strong beer is £0.24 (per litre), then VAT on the price of that and the product itself. I can't calculate how much the distribution, storage, taxing the lorries, paying the fuel, workers in warehouses paying income tax and so on is. I reckon it all about balances out.[/p][/quote]You've massively underestimater the beer durty and vat on high strength beer. Beer Duty is £18.74 per 100l per %. High Strength beer duty on top of this is £5.29 per 100l per % (£18.74+£5.29)*8%/ 100=£1.92 duty on 1l of 8% beer. Once you add the VAT on top the government's profit is £2.31 per litre! Nearly 10 times your figure! fugu
  • Score: 0

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