Fraser Nelson again (emphasis added):
The biggest story in today’s Budget – ie, what will hit the public immediately – is the booze hikes. From 6pm tonight, they take effect. An extra 4p on a pint of beer, 3p on a glass of wine (touchingly, the Red Book says 175ml is typical – has anyone from the Treasury ordered a glass recently?), and 55p on a 70cl bottle of spirits. These increases will rise at 2% in future years on top on inflation (itself expected to be 2%). So, congratulations Gordon: a line of cocaine (on Dec07 street prices) is now cheaper than half a pint of cider. What a wonderful country we live in.
Of course, the other way of looking at this is to wonder at the efficiencies of the free market. Despite government's best efforts to complicate matters, the Colombian cartels - and their partners - continue to deliver extraordinary value for money. Imagine what could happen if the government operated along similar principles (absent the violence, perhaps)? Instead we enjoy more tinkering and still more regulation...