A minimum booze price would work

Having been in the brewing industry all of my working life, I have followed with interest the debate over the plan, now introduced in Scotland, to impose a minimum price per unit of alcohol.

Certainly a minimum price would increase the coffers of the major supermarkets, but bear in mind that if they were acting responsibly with respect to alcohol prices they would have that money anyway.

Any increase in price brings increased revenue from VAT.

Minimum pricing would assist hard-pressed smaller and independent off-licences, which would feel that the playing field had been levelled a little.

In addition, the many small craft breweries which are producing a large range of excellent bottled beers would similarly feel that their beers were more competitively priced.

If minimum pricing works, the potential savings to the country as a result of lower alcohol consumption could be huge. All in all it seems to me to be a win-win situation and begs the question as to why no one has had the courage to do this before.

A.M, via email

A real way to pep up kids’ summer

Ensuring the North West’s youngsters are as busy as possible could be key to keeping many of them out of trouble during the summer holidays.

We have run successful Do it 4 Real residential camps since 2005, with more 60,000 young people experiencing them during this time. Activities on the camps include gorge climbing, film making, quad biking and archery.

Do it 4 Real camps are run at six YHA locations in the East Midlands, Lake District, Heart of England, Midlands and South West. For details ring 01629 592 530 or visit www.doit4real.co.uk.

Caroline White, chief executive, Youth Hostel Association

Get the message and ban them

WHEN he was a headmaster, Ofsted chief Michael Wilshaw banned pupils from bringing phones to school saying: “Apart from the distracting effect of a mobile going off in class they can be used for cyber-bullying and accessing online pornography”.

When The Transport Research Laboratory and the Institute of Advanced Motorists united to look into the effect of talking, texting and accessing the internet whilst driving, they concluded that reaction time was slowed by some 38% – far slower than for drink or drug use at just 15%.

Driving while using a mobile phone should attract a ban.

Allan Ramsay, via email

It’s really not a hands-on hobby

Around lunchtime last Sunday, the bells of Manchester Town Hall sprang into life with a variety of traditional tunes to celebrate four decades of The North West Player Piano Association, a national pianola enthusiasts’ club.

The Association exists to encourage interest in self-playing musical instruments. Although focused in the North-West, the Association enjoys UK-wide support and has members as far afield as Europe and the USA.

Interested readers can find out more at pianola.org.uk

Bob Kissick, via email