Alcohol duty increase is a necessary step for health
As rises in alcohol duty are introduced tomorrow (1 Aug 2023) Balance the North East Alcohol Programme has described the move as an urgent and necessary step to protect health.
Susan Taylor, Head of Alcohol Policy for Balance, said: “In the North East 74% of adults think alcohol is a big problem regionally and nationally and so this is a necessary and urgent step to help protect people’s health.
“The rise this week comes on top of a decade of freezes and cuts to alcohol duty. Hospitals in England see nearly one million admissions a year due to alcohol, liver disease has risen by a fifth in just a year and alcohol deaths are at a 20 year high.
She said: “Heavy drinking is linked to cheap alcohol and successive duty freezes have led to more people in hospital and more deaths as a result. In regions like the North East we suffer the worst harms, the worst death rate and an even bigger pressure on our NHS and emergency services. Duty freezes also make supermarket alcohol cheaper and that creates even more of a threat to pubs.
“Balance is working to remind people of the health risks associated with alcohol, and it is a concern nearly one million people in the North East are drinking above the recommended low risk limits, putting their health at greater risk of cancer, heart disease, mental health problems and a variety of other issues.
“The rise in duty is long overdue but not enough. Over the border in Scotland a minimum unit price has reduced both deaths and hospital admissions from alcohol. We now urge the government to carry out an independent, evidence-based review of alcohol harms.”