RAISE PRICE TO LOWER DEATHS?

More than 3000 deaths a year from alcohol-related causes would be avoided by significantly raising the price of drink bought in supermarkets.

This is the view of the chief medical officer Sir Liam Donaldson, who has advocated a minimum price of 50pence per unit, a move he says will cut binge-drinking.

Currently a large bottle of strong cheap cider delivers around 11 units and costs as little as 12pence per unit, or a cost of 48pence for the recommended daily intake of 4 units for men, 36pence for the three units recommendation for women. Two cans of lager delivers around 4 units at 30pence a unit, a £3-4 bottle of wine delivers around 9 units at 35pence a unit and a bottle of spirits supplies 28 units at rates from around 30pence per unit.

MP EXPENSES UNDERMINE BRITAIN

Britain has slipped to an 11 year low on the table of corrupt countries compiled by Transparency International.

This is due to a combination of greedy British MP’s fiddling their expenses and the pathetic failure, for political reasons, of the British authorities to prosecute British firms for paying bribes (baksheesh) to Arab entrepreneurs.

Britain is currently 17th out of a total of 180 countries rated from zero to ten for their level of corruption, defined as “the abuse of entrusted power for personal gain” Countries such as Denmark, Sweden and New Zealand score highly with very little corruption, while countries such as Haiti, currently suffering a disastrous earthquake, and Myanmar, Iraq and Somalia bring up the rear.

Britain has suffered “a significant decline” in its ratings, according to Transparency International.

WORSTGROUP

Three months of “commuting hell” inflicted on its customers by train operating company First Capital Connect has led to Transport Secretary Lord Adonis describing the company as sub-standard.

Service has been especially poor on the Bedford to Brighton line with a constant changing of timetables and a lack of customer communication from the company.

It has been suggested to Lord Adonis by Nadine Dorries, MP for Mid-Beds, that he consider stripping FirstGroup of their most lucrative franchise.

MORE MUGABE FALL-OUT

o Swiss giant Nestle has suspended all operations in Zimbabwe. This, it says, follows harassment by government officials and police after it aborted a lucrative deal to buy milk from a farm taken over by Robert Mugabe’s wife, Grace, after the owner was forced to sell it for a fraction of its value. (see SWISS MISS, Marketing Matters, October 2009)

o Two South African managers of a dairy company linked to Tetra Pak, DeLaval, have left the company after it was revealed by the Daily Telegraph that they had sold equipment to the above farm. Grace Mugabe, 44, is on the EU list of people subject to sanctions, being a financial beneficiary of Robert Mugabe’s brutal regime.

WHERE FROM?

The consumers association Which? has called for a tightening up of rules on labelling food products.

Currently the country of origin must be provided on beef and poultry if imported from outside the EU, but not on pork and pork products, or lamb, a situation that Which? calls “bizarre. In addition the manufacturer using imported meats can claim as the country of origin the place where the product last underwent a substantial change, rather than where the meat for it came from.

In a recent survey carried out by Which? 3 in 4 people want proper origin labelling for all meat and poultry, all processed foods made from them as well as dairy products, fish and fruit and vegetables.

O’BLARNEY AGAIN

Latest nonsense from everyone’s favourite marketeer, Michael O’Blarney of Ryanair, is the chance to avoid his rip-off £5 per person credit or debit card charge by paying with the little-used Master Card prepaid, rather than the far more popular Electron card the airline used to process free.

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has branded O’Blarney’s latest earner as “peurile”. It has been estimated that the cost to process a card payment is around 30 pence, a long way from the £20 a family of four will pay to use it to buy a flight on Ryanair. Another budget firm, Travelodge, charges £1.50 per transaction for credit cards, and nothing for debit cards.

BANKER BASHING

Bankers continue to occupy a place in the public esteem somewhere below paedophiles.

News of more huge bonuses funded by taxpayers hasn’t helped, as hasn’t pleas by London Mayor Boris Johnson that we risk them leaving the country if we impose punitive taxes on them, against a popular view that it would be a Very Good Thing for UK Ltd if they all took their greed and incompetence and foxtrot oscared to screw up someone else’s economy.