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alcohol health alliance uk

Balance response to the alcohol duty increase in today’s Budget

Posted 23/03/11

Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “Although we welcome any measure that increases the price of alcohol, the chancellor’s announcement that alcohol tax will rise by just 2% above inflation is frankly a missed opportunity.

“Although adding 4p to a pint in your local pub, today’s announcement will have next to no impact on the price of alcohol sold at pocket money prices, which causes our region the most damage as it is traditionally consumed by our youngest and heaviest drinkers.

“Neither will it close the price gap that exists between super cheap supermarket alcohol and the price of a pint in the pub. Treasured community pubs across the North East will continue to struggle and close as the Government continues to fail to address this discrepancy. Research shows that more than half of the region’s pubs experienced a decline in business last year, while seven in ten publicans would welcome legislation to prevent supermarkets from selling alcohol at pocket money prices.

“Government needs to go further and faster if we are to reduce the damage that alcohol is doing to the North East, where we have the highest rate of alcohol related hospital admissions and the second highest rate of alcohol related deaths in the country. Alcohol needs to be retailed at a price which recognises that it is no ordinary commodity and can be harmful not just to individuals but also to the communities in which they live. The introduction of a minimum price per unit of alcohol would do just that.”