The musings of a juggling mother

Rants & raves about life as a woman today, juggling work, home, kids, family, life the universe & everything.

© Mrs Aginoth. The right of Mrs Aginoth to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents act 1988

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Half Term Blues

We're not even half way through half term yet, and the house is a complete tip, the washing is overflowing & I need a full 24 hours sleep! How can one extra child at home during the day make so much difference?

I couldn't face another day like yesterday, so I bundled them all onto a train (well two trains) and spent the day at Nanny A's. the kids played in the patk & made her house messy, she got to do the cooking & cleaning, and she's keeping Mstr A overnight, so I may get a quiet morning tomorrow (there are no such things as lie-ins any more in the Aginoth household).

On a totally different note, Aggie has finally posted a blog, so you can all stop nagging me now!

Oh yes, and yippee, we will soon have a total ban on smoking in all pubs & clubs in Britain. I might actually feel like going out again now!

11 Comments:

  • At Tuesday, February 14, 2006 8:51:00 pm, Blogger Stephen (aka Q) said…

    We have that ban on smoking here in restaurants, including pubs, here in Canada.

    The restaurants I understand. You're there to eat, and smoke definitely interferes with the enjoyment of the food.

    But pubs always seemed a bit harsh to me. Pubs are not exactly health spas; all kinds of unhealthy behaviour goes on in those places.

    But pubs are a little different in Britain, I know. I gather that they are the social centre of the community. Even vicars pass time in 'em.

    But why shouldn't the vicar enjoy a puff with his ale?

     
  • At Tuesday, February 14, 2006 9:04:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    Simply put (ha ha), because it means that the majority of us can't enjoy a pint!

    Also passive smoking causes a breach of H&S regs for employees in pubs/clubs.

    Also, we have an NHS that spends a fortune on treating smoking related diseases.

    Also because allowing smoking in pubs makes a mockery of many of our other laws regarding drug-taking.

    Alcohol is a drug, true. but it is possible to drink sensibly, safely and healthily. It is impossible to smoke safely, sensibly or healthily.

    Children are allowed in pubs

    UK pubs are often used as community centres/meeting places. In many small villages they are the ONLY place left for the community to congregate.

    Most pubs serve food/double up as family restuarants.

    I'm sure I'll think of some others in a moment:-)

     
  • At Tuesday, February 14, 2006 9:30:00 pm, Blogger Sadie Lou said…

    I always feel sorry for people that work in bars/pubs/casinos that don't smoke--they might as well. California has some of the most strict anti-smoking laws out there and I love it.

     
  • At Wednesday, February 15, 2006 9:34:00 am, Blogger Lux_Luther said…

    Q said:

    But pubs are a little different in Britain, I know. I gather that they are the social centre of the community. Even vicars pass time in 'em.

    Mrs A said:

    I might actually feel like going out again now!

    and

    Simply put (ha ha), because it means that the majority of us can't enjoy a pint!

    and

    UK pubs are often used as community centres/meeting places. In many small villages they are the ONLY place left for the community to congregate.

    This is the heart of the problem, unfortunately. In the briefing material issued prior to the vote in the House, came the following statements:

    "The RIA ignores the impact that the smoking ban has had on the licensed trade in Ireland...According to the Vintners' Federation of Ireland(VFI), rural pubs have been worst affected by the ban. The VFI is aware of just over 200 licensed premises that have closed since the introduction of the smoking ban in March 2004. According to the CSO in Ireland, 7,600 jobs were lost in the hospitality sector in 2004. This equates to 150 jobs per week. There is no reason to believe that the impact in England and Wales would be any less.
    The same impact would result in the closure of approximately 1,000 pubs. Taking into account the ban on smoking in public places in Scotland, an estimated 33,600 jobs in pubs and bars in the UK would be lost as a result of closures and decreased trade.
    Furthermore, 5.9% fewer jobs would be created in our sector, which has always been a major source of employment opportunities for a wide range of people of different ages and skill levels.
    ...
    There is no evidence that non-smokers are visiting pubs in increasing numbers or that increasing numbers of pubs are diversifying into food or other areas, so there has been no replacement of lost trade."

    In other words, the very places you are using as an argument on your side have closed in Ireland as a result, and "actually feel(ing) like going out" hasn't equated to actually going out in Ireland at all.

    (These figures are confirmed here, with Government statistics supporting the VFI statement.

    "“The experience of the licensed trade in the Republic of Ireland has been traumatic,” says Nicola Carruthers, “particularly in rural areas. Statistics from the Vintners Federation of Ireland, the representative body of the licensed trade in the Republic, show that there have been dozens of pub closures in the South since the total smoking ban was introduced in March 2004, for example, 26 closures in Co Clare and 20 in Co Sligo alone. The Republic of Ireland’s official Employment Figures bear these facts out. While all sectors of the Republic’s economy are growing in employment terms, the numbers employed in the licensed trade and hospitality sector fell by 7,500 last year.”")

    Alternatively, there's the view from one of these actual community pubs you talk about:

    "Colin Davis, the owner of the Clydach Vale Hotel in Rhondda, said so many of his customers smoke that a total ban would really hit his business.
    He said: "This is a smoking pub. We've taken a survey, me and my wife. One Saturday night here, there were 157 people in here. I think there were 15 people that didn't smoke.
    "So they want me to ban the 132 people and keep the 15 people in who don't smoke. It's a bit crazy. They are going to shut a lot of pubs down, I reckon." "

    Also, from the same House of Commons report:

    "With the exception of cigarette bins which could be provided by premises, any other form of disposal facilities and street cleaning are surely a matter for local authorities."

    I look forward to you saying "yippee" when your Council tax increases as a result - after all, it's only fair that those areas where there are a larger number of pubs bear the responsibility for cleaning up after them, isn't it?

    And let's just ram home the point on rural pubs, from the same report:

    "The effect on small businesses in the community, particularly in marginal rural pubs, will inevitably be dramatic, as small losses in income will lead to their closure and consequent loss of employment for the local community...
    According to the Rating Database 18,692 pubs in England and Wales have a rateable value of £10,000 or less, and would be at risk of becoming marginal businesses where any loss of income as a result of the impact of the proposals could result in their closure. There is no reference in the RIA to a "small business litmus test" being carried out. We would strongly suggest that further consideration is given to the impact of the proposals on small businesses in general, and small hospitality businesses such as rural pubs in particular. "

    Mrs A also said:

    Also, we have an NHS that spends a fortune on treating smoking related diseases.

    That's true, nearly £1.5Bn. On the other hand, smoking contributes over £8Bn in revenue annually more than offsetting the cost to the NHS. Yes, we can point to smoking revenue going to a variety of places rather than just the NHS - but stop people smoking just to save that £1.5Bn and you're left with a £6.5Bn hole which can only be filled from one place - increased taxes for everyone.

    And talking of taxes - back to the House of Commons report one last time:

    "We believe that the Exchequer may also experience losses from falling alcohol sales in no smoking pubs. Approximately £2.5 billion could be lost in duty, and a further £3.8 billion in VAT, a total of £6.3 billion in revenue."

    "Yippee"! Increased taxes all round!

    I'm not a smoker, by the way.

     
  • At Wednesday, February 15, 2006 10:01:00 am, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    Lux - you are quoting the direct cost of treating lung cancer & heart disease which is only £1.5billion true.

    But you haven't taken into account the cost of treating conditions such as asthma, throat infections etc which are made worse by smoking.

    Or the cost of the reduced health of children of smokers.

    Or the loss of income tax income from all the people who die early from smoking related causes.

    Or the loss of revenue from workers off sick with smoking related illnesses.

    Also the Irish ban is still new. give it time, and the hospitality trade will adjust & thrive. Things change. Good services change with them.

    Your argument that people have the right to smoke if they want to doesn't take into account pasive smoking by employees - which is specifically illegal under the H&S act. Or the fact that we don't have the right to do all sorts of things!

    I actually believe that pubs should have the right to apply for a smokers licence if they wish, ANd if they do not allow children in, AND if there is a local non-smoking alternative (see my Utopian world post on drugs & licences), but since that wasn't an option, I'm going for Yipee!

     
  • At Wednesday, February 15, 2006 10:33:00 am, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    Of course, Scotland was the first UK country to enforce a smoking ban. They did plenty of research and concluded "Cigarette sales have dropped by 13 per cent in New York and by 16 per cent in Ireland. Our research estimates that there will be a net economic benefit—not a disadvantage—for the Scottish economy as a result of any ban. Tax revenues from bars and restaurants in New York have increased by almost 9 per cent since the ban was introduced there and despite the dire warnings, the first official figures from Ireland show that volume sales are down by only 1.3 per cent and were falling before the ban became law.
    "
    source

     
  • At Wednesday, February 15, 2006 11:53:00 am, Blogger Lux_Luther said…

    Mrs A said:

    Lux - you are quoting the direct cost of treating lung cancer & heart disease which is only £1.5billion true.

    But you haven't taken into account the cost of treating conditions such as asthma, throat infections etc which are made worse by smoking.

    Or the cost of the reduced health of children of smokers.

    Or the loss of income tax income from all the people who die early from smoking related causes.

    Or the loss of revenue from workers off sick with smoking related illnesses.


    Not true. Buck D, Godfrey C, Parrott S, Raw M, University of York Centre for Health Economics. Cost effectiveness of smoking cessation interventions. London: Health Education Authority, 1997, as referenced in the Government White Paper on the topic, clearly states "treating illness and disease caused by smoking is estimated to cost the NHS up to £1.7 billion every year in terms of GP visits, prescriptions, treatment and operations".

    From the same White Paper, and referenced from Peto R, Lopez AD, Boreham J et al.: Imperial Cancer Research Fund and World Health Organisation. Mortality from smoking in developing countries 1950-2000. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994, "for every 1000 20-year-old smokers it is estimated that while one will be murdered and six will die in motor accidents, 250 will die in middle age from smoking, and 250 will die in older age from smoking". Now, the latest statistics say 1 in 4 adults smoke in Britain so even at worst case that's 1 in 16 of potential income tax payers lost annually. I make Income tax receipts to currently be around £60Bn, or around £4Bn for those 1 in 16. Assuming average spread across earnings, and assuming they're all in work (which you may choose to be likely or not). So, still a shortfall then.

    Mrs A also said:

    Also the Irish ban is still new. give it time, and the hospitality trade will adjust & thrive.

    and

    Your argument that people have the right to smoke if they want

    I'm not arguing any such thing, so please don't put words in my mouth. What I am, in fact arguing is that as has been demonstrated in Ireland (and I'll point out here that Jack McConnell's "volume sales" include off-sales, and are mentioned in the Commons briefing paper I linked to earlier - "Retail alcohol sales have not been affected mainly because of the growth in the off-trade sales as people choose to drink and smoke at home.") pubs are closing and people losing their jobs (and let's not go near the impact on income tax of their unemployment :-) ) as a result of the ban because people who "might" go to pubs demonstrably don't whereas some smokers who do go to pubs stop. The hospitality trade might well "adjust" and even "thrive", but a great many of the community pubs you champion will be shut by then, and how do you propose they re-open? If you were a bank, would you lend to someone to open a business where the previous identical business had failed?

    And I ask you again - are you happy for your council tax to go up (as identified in the Commons briefing paper) to pay for the clean-up?

     
  • At Wednesday, February 15, 2006 2:45:00 pm, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    Lux, yes I would be happy foir my council tax to rise.

    Although I would be happier to ban smoking on the street too.

    For the record, CAMRA figures show that 20 pubs close in England every month, so the closures in Ireland are probably nothing to do with the ban. I couldn't get a figure for the number of new pubs opening across the country (not without adding together every LA licencing report), but it probably averages out to about, um, 20 per month. It's a tough business, not everyone survives, but the smoking/non-smoking atmsphere seems to have little to do with it - just look at Wetherspoons!

     
  • At Wednesday, February 15, 2006 3:55:00 pm, Blogger Mary P. said…

    A correction to Q's statement, which is only relevant if you ever come to Canada expecting smoke-free bliss at every turn. The anti-smoking bylaws are just that: by-laws, and are enforced municipality by municipality. Some have no smoking in all public spaces, some in restaurants but not pubs. It varies.

     
  • At Wednesday, February 15, 2006 10:27:00 pm, Blogger mig bardsley said…

    Pubs have been closing so fast around here that there probably won't be any left for non smokers to enjoy soon. And they'll all be Gastro pubs (which means lip service only, to the drinking community).
    I reckon the hospitality trade in England is already in dire trouble.

    Speaking as a smoker, I don't mind not smoking in enclosed public places. I generally take my habit outside if I'm in company anyway and have done for years. Freedom of choice, fresh air and all that.

    And I still think alcohol is just as serious a problem and just as dangerous a drug.

     
  • At Thursday, February 16, 2006 7:34:00 am, Blogger Juggling Mother said…

    I agree that alcohol is a serious social problm, so don't have any isue with the growth of gastro/family pubs and the decline of drinking dens - although I think there will be some drinkers pubs for a while yet.

    As they say, if we discovered either alcohol or tobacco now, they'd be banned.

    The difference on legislation is because alcohol can be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle, and consumers do not automtically cause social or health problms. Nor do they affect others with their drinking. Smoking is unhealthy even if you only have one puff a week, and affect everyne else near you, regardless of how careful you are.

    I would personally like to see the laws regarding the sale of alcohol to people already under the influence to be more strictly enforced.

    I still have 3 pubs and 2 clubs within a five minute walk, and so many I can't count them within a 30 minute walk. The ridiculous village Nanny A lives in has lost it's shop, local bobby, post-office & school, but still has a thriving pub, plus another couple within a 30 min walk. I don't see any signs of problems with the hositality sector, but it is changing!

     

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