Balance responds to Budget announcement
Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, reacts to today's Budget.
“The Chancellor talked extensively today about doing the right thing by our children and yet has done nothing to protect young people from the devastating harms of the cheapest, strongest alcohol.
“Today would have been the perfect opportunity to target products like cheap white cider and high-strength spirits which are in the top five drinks consumed by children who end up needing help from treatment services. Every year, more than 300 children in our region alone – the young people we need to protect – are admitted to hospital because of alcohol.
“The Government itself estimates alcohol harm costs the UK £21 billion a year, while alcohol taxes raise £9 billion, so it’s hard to see the justification for today’s decision to freeze duty on beer, cider and spirits.
“The irony is that today’s announcement won’t even benefit the pubs and their customers. It will only continue to enable supermarkets to sell alcohol at pocket money prices, contributing to the worrying drinking habits we’re seeing today.
“As our NHS and emergency services struggle to cope with the pressures of alcohol-related harms, it’s a shame the Chancellor didn’t take this opportunity to support our frontline services, help cut crime and protect the most vulnerable people in society.”