Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Greeks propose a way forward for smokers

In the frst four months of teh Greek blanket smoking ban pover 450 penalty notices have been handed out to bars in the Athens area alone. It is obviously not running as smoothly as it has done in the UK with widespread disobiedience.

So the Greek government, which is cash strapped remember, has had a  collective head-scratching about this and has come up with a nice idea. After all they are pretty well hated amongst the population, and this EU driven legislation is just pissing off the populace. So they are proposing this,
The Greek government is planning to introduce smoking licences for wet-led venues so that customers can smoke.

The cost will be decided based on the size of the establishments and any venue that allows smoking without the licence will be closed.
There is of course the fiscal incentive...
The government believes it could bring in “at least” €50m (around £42m) from issuing the smoking licences.

So Mr Cameron. You can be liberal, big society, and raise cash for the exchequer? What do you think?


WitteringsfromWitney said...

Really surprised at this GT - are we not taxed enough for our 'habit'? Plus any licence fee only adds to the cost for the establishment owner, thus potentially driving up costs to those that use said establishment.

And pse don't put ideas into Cameron's head - its already full enough with half-arsed thoughts!

Methnks a rethink?

Gawain Towler said...

We are indeed taxed enough already... But but...

On the principle that I prefer to get something 70% right rather than hold out for 100% and thus get 0% on this issue I would go for it.

It is stepping stone back from the situation we currently find ourselves in.

Ideally there would be a retraction of the law to the situation ante. If we could do so that wpould be great. But that is not going to happen without some incentive.

Thus we need an incentive (this government refuses to do things that are right because they are right, therefore we must provide incentives).

A licence fee (yes pubs already have to pay licence fees I know) would provide such an incentive.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

Reasonable response Gawain and accepted. However it still perpetrates the idea that we can only do that which the govt permits, where our pleasures are concerned - be that smoking, drinking, fox hunting, cheese rolling etc etc etc.

Perhaps a campaign based on all such constraints that Ukip would remove, might go down well? Just a thought......

Gawain Towler said...

Lord yes, Makes me think of Blake's London,

I wander through each chartered street,
Near where the chartered Thames does flow,
And mark in every face I meet,
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.

We do not need to be chartered

Mark Wadsworth said...

WFW, it's not such a bad idea. In fact I suggested it myself three years ago.

And such a licence cannot possibly 'drive up costs'. If you run a pub and know that you could increase your profits by over £10,000 if your customers were allowed to smoke, would you be happy to pay £10,000 (part of what you are paying for is that other surrounding pubs aren't allowed to let their customers smoke)?

I assume yes. Ergo, local council gets a bit more money (there are far worse taxes than this), we get somewhere to sit, and the willing landlord can increase his profits. What's not to like?

Belinda said...

Similar discussion at my place. Someone has suggested bidding for licences, which I don't like as the more powerful pubs could price their competitors out http://f2cscotland.blogspot.com/2011/01/licence-to-let-people-smoke-in-greek.html

WitteringsfromWitney said...

MW: It may not be such a bad idea, but it is hardly a good idea.

So because you have a licence, those pubs in the immediate area could not - which is what you infer. Hardly fair and thus a tad dictatorial, methinks.

From Gawain's post it is obvious that the money raised goes back to central govt, so how do local authorities get more money? Are you suggesting that local authorities would receive larger central govt grants? Really?

And who sets the cost of any licence? Central govt? What is a fair cost that will not penalise one pub over another? Will area have any effect on the cost of the licence?

Sorry MW, but there are too many imponderables here and I suspect too many opportunities for malpractice and 'using the system'.

I rpt by what right can govt charge us for partaking in a pleasure, be that smoking, drinking, whatever. It is for this reason I also oppose the proposed minimum pricing of alcohol. Both schemes are unworkable, will entail more jobsworths to monitor and run them and will drive up costs - costs that will be passed on to the consumer, one way or another.

Gawain Towler said...


I do not know who us getting the money oin the Greek example, but I would guess that in a UK example it would be going to local, not national budgets. Which means that some councils could licence everybody, and I guess others not.

That would be a matter for the local electorate

Anonymous said...

Smoking Licence for Pubs - I'm all for it... and a kitty for donations, too.

Belinda said...

Greek not getting licences after all? http://www.athensnews.gr/portal/1/36375