This topic isn’t news anymore; it’s been overtaken by panic over possible fuel strikes and VAT on pasties (:, but it is a topic I have strong opinions on.
For a start, the claim that ‘moderate drinkers won’t be affected’ is so obviously flawed that I’m amazed that it wasn’t taken up. If prices go up, as they inevitably will, everyone will be affected, from those who buy the occasional bottle of wine, to regular pub goers. And pubs are already under enough pressure from duty on beer, etc; this is just another setback for them.
The second thing that I take issue with is the idea that this will actually work! If people want to have a drink, they will, and in some cases, they will cut back on other items (like food) so that they can still afford to do this. So this move might backfire seriously.
This kind of nanny state intervention will never work. If the government really want to tackle the drinking culture in the UK (which by the way is not exclusive to us), then they have to look further than simple price increases.