Alcohol continues to cause substantial harm and grief to families and communities across the UK. Alcohol-related illness, injuries and death rates remain unacceptably high throughout the country.
“I went into Megan’s room that morning. She just looked like she was asleep, but I touched her, and she was cold. The shock for the whole family was huge and it still is; my heart hurts every day. I struggle with what happened on a daily basis and it’s had a huge impact on myself and my family.” Joanne Good, who lost her 16-year old daughter Megan after she drank strong white cider
Current government policy allows alcohol to be sold at pocket money prices whilst offering little support to those affected.
Alcohol treatment can be very effective to help people turn their lives around:
“Before I started treatment for my alcohol addiction, my life was on a downward spiral. I had lost contact with my family. Thanks to Forward Leeds, I’m now back in my family’s lives and am determined to be the dad and grandad they deserve.” Eddie, who has successfully completed treatment at the Humankind-led service, Forward Leeds
However, budgets for alcohol treatment have been massively cut. Currently, only one in five people in England who need treatment are getting the support they need. That’s not good enough.
Instead of helping people rebuild their lives, the government is prioritising the interests of alcohol companies: At the same time as funding for treatment is cut, alcohol duty has been cut or frozen for six out of the last seven years. This has been costing the government more than £1bn every year. This money could fund the salaries of 40,000 nurses or 28,500 police officers. What would you choose?
We believe the government should prioritise reducing the harm alcohol causes instead of supporting the drinks companies that fuel it. This is why we are asking the government to increase alcohol duty by 2% above inflation in this year’s Budget. This would help save lives and repair families, and would be cheaper for the taxpayer in the long run, by avoiding higher costs down the line.
“The government needs to recognise that alcohol is a highly addictive drug and should be doing more to protect society’s most vulnerable from its grip. They changed the law on smoking and cigarettes, now action is needed on alcohol as the impact on people and the wider society is so destructive.” Dave Angel
You can also download our briefing here, if you’d like more information about alcohol duty.