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Strong public support for higher alcohol taxes to help fund public services

Balance is calling for higher alcohol taxes to help fund public services

 

Call to cut the harm of alcohol and tobacco in Autumn Budget

North East health campaigners are calling on the Government to tackle the crippling toll of alcohol and tobacco and plug much-needed public finances in next week’s Autumn Budget.

It comes as pooled estimates show tobacco and alcohol together cost the North East more than £1.6bn every year. Alcohol cost the region £1.01bn in 2015-16 and tobacco £613m in 2017 through NHS costs, GP appointments, hospital admissions, crime and disorder, sickness, absenteeism and lost productivity among staff working for North East employers, and social services support for families affected by tobacco and alcohol issues. *

Balance, the North East alcohol office, and the Alcohol Health Alliance are calling for an end to alcohol tax breaks to ease the pressure on the NHS, police and other public services. They are calling for an increase in alcohol duty – 2% above inflation – and to follow Scotland by introducing alcohol Minimum Unit Pricing (MUP).

Fresh is supporting a call from Action on Smoking and Health and the UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies to increase tobacco tax from 2% to 5% above inflation and to increase hand rolling tobacco by 15% above inflation. This is also calling for a levy on tobacco manufacturers to pay more for the harm caused by smoking and help further cut smoking rates.

Successive alcohol duty cuts from 2013 -14 to 2018-19 have already cost the Treasury around £4bn, with government estimates of the cost rising to £8.3bn by 2022-23 . This much-needed money could fund 34 million emergency ambulance call outs, 530,000 social care packages for older people or 60 million hospital outpatient appointments.

Read on to find out more.