There is no doubt that we are losing a British institution ie the pub. There are many reasons for this and why we must try and save them but essentially it is because the current tax on alcohol is too high and makes a trip to the pub far too expensive. It strikes me that we should treat alcohol in a similar way to food. Take away food is exempt from VAT so why not reverse this idea and allow alcohol (or lower alcohol drinks – say 4% or less) that is drunk on the premises VAT free and alcohol tax free and charge VAT and high alcohol tax on any take away alcohol. There has to be an incentive to go to the pub rather than buy a "six" pack from the supermarket and this idea or something along the same lines would skew in favour of drinking in licenced premises.
Why does this idea matter?
We are losing something that is quintiessentially British and there is also evidence to suggest that drinking in licence premises and restricting drinking outside of these establishements results in less drunkeness as it can be better controlled. If we combined this with a reduction in opening hours perhaps we may start to get a grip of the problem.