27 NOVEMBER 1915, Page 11

DRINK AND ECONOMY. (To THE EDITOR OF THE "sraersvort."1 Sin, — In

a letter which appears in the last number of the Spectator signed "Hilda N. Richardson" there is a fallacy which occurs so frequently in the letters and speeches one reads on the subject that it may be well to point it out. The writer says that " the £160,000,000 spent directly on drink is a comparatively small part of the cost of the drink traffic to the country," and mentions as part of the additional cost the loss "in wages paid to men engaged in the liquor traffic, who might be employed in serving their country either in the Navy or Army or in munition manufacture," and "the loss in food material" by reason of the destruction of hundreds of millions of pounds of sugar, rice, maize, and grain in breweries and distilleries. It is true to say that drinking costa the country the amount spent on liquor, and it is equally true to say that it costs the country the grain, &et, required for the manu- facture of drink, and the labour (or wages paid for the labour) of manufacturing, distributing, and selling the drink ; but it is not true to say that it costs both, because the cost of the grain, lac., and of the labour, is included in the amount spent on drink, There is another error in the letter; of the money paid by the consumer for drink, portion is in reality a tax of which the law compels the sellers of drink to be the collectors. The case for liquor legislation of the kind suggested in the letter is so absolutely sound that it would be a pity if it were weakened by any inaccuracy in its statement.—I am,

25 Sandford Road, Dublin.