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alcohol health alliance uk

Counting the cost of alcohol in the North East

Posted 11/10/12

New figures have revealed the full extent that alcohol misuse is having on the North East economy - costing the workplace alone £404.30m each year.

The research by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office shows that each year in the North East an estimated 636,786 productive days are lost and 639,127 sick days are taken due to alcohol.

The full cost breakdown revealed that in the region:

Colin Shevills, Director at Balance, said: “These figures demonstrate the real cost of cheap alcohol on every aspect of our society - it is essentially affecting everyone in some capacity. At a time when we are looking for economic growth, it is extremely frustrating that alcohol is costing our businesses and the wider economy.

“Alcohol is also continuing to impact heavily on our public services. We have an unhealthy relationship with alcohol in the North East with the highest rate of alcohol-related hospital admissions, the highest rate of under 18s in alcohol treatment and nearly half of our crime is alcohol-related.

“Price is a significant factor in this. Supermarkets are currently selling products such as strong white cider for just 19p per unit in the North East with alcohol sometimes being sold cheaper than water. However it costs all of us to deal with the consequences. Clearing up the harm caused by the wide availability of cheap alcohol is costing every taxpayer in the North East the equivalent of £887 ever year.

“A key part of the solution will be the introduction of a minimum unit price, which the Government has backed and is set to consult on later this month. It’s a targeted measure which will increase the price of the cheapest, strongest alcohol – traditionally purchased by younger and heavier drinkers.

“Under a minimum 50p per unit, which is recommended by experts such as the British Medical Association, moderate drinkers would spend just 28p extra per week on alcohol, saving thousands of lives and preventing tens of thousands of instances of crimes.”