Widespread support expressed for duty increase on high-strength cider

22 November 2017: AHA members, MPs, doctors, religious leaders and researchers are among those who have signed a letter calling on the Chancellor to raise the duty on cheap, high-strength cider in the Autumn budget.

The letter is published in the Daily Mirror today, and the full text and list of signatories is below.

Dear Sir

We are calling on the Government to raise duty on cheap, high-strength cider in the budget to help protect children and other vulnerable people.

Due to loopholes in the tax system, three litre plastic bottles of strong ‘white’ cider are being sold for as little as £3.59. That means our children are able to get hold of the equivalent of 22 shots of vodka for pocket money prices.

This is a drink of choice for heavy drinkers and the homeless, and too many of our children have access to it. Megan Craig Wilkinson, the 16-year-old daughter of one of the people signing this letter, died on New Year’s Day 2014 after drinking half a bottle of cheap, strong cider. You featured her tragic story in the pages of this newspaper.

Raising the price of these drinks would reduce alcohol-related death and illness and ease the burden on the health service. It would also boost the economy by reducing the number of working life years lost due to alcohol and at the same time would leave 80 per cent of mainstream ciders unaffected.

A poll from the Alcohol Health Alliance showed 66 per cent of people would support an increase in tax on white cider, so we call on the Chancellor to act now, to protect our children and the most vulnerable.

Yours sincerely

Joanne Good

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair, Alcohol Health Alliance

Colin Shevills, Director, Balance, the North East Alcohol Office

Katherine Brown, Chief Executive, Institute of Alcohol Studies

Dr Sarah Wollaston MP

Fiona Bruce MP, Chair of the APPG on Alcohol Harm

Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe

Baroness Finlay of Llandaff

Alex Cunningham MP

Paul Flynn MP

Mary Glindon MP

Steve Double MP

Martyn Day MP

Ronnie Campbell MP

Norman Lamb MP

Lord Ramsbotham

Liam Byrne MP

Dr Paul Williams MP

Dr Richard Piper, Chief Executive, Alcohol Research UK/Alcohol Concern

Jeremy Swain, Chief Executive, Thames Reach

Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for Durham

Dame Vera Baird QC, Police & Crime Commissioner for Northumbria

Barry Coppinger, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland

Lieut-Colonel David E. Kelly, Secretary for Communications, The Salvation Army

Dr Liam Brennan, President of the Royal College of Anaesthetists

Dr Dominique Florin, Medical Director, Medical Council on Alcohol

Dr Peter Rice, Chair, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems

Dr Eric Carlin, Director, Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems

Professor Paul Lincoln, CEO UK Health Forum

Professor Dame Parveen Kumar, BMA board of science chair

Alison Douglas, Chief Executive, Alcohol Focus Scotland

Professor Colin Drummond, Addictions Faculty, Royal College of Psychiatrists

Dr Adrian Boyle, Royal College of Emergency Medicine

Dr Andrew Furber, President, Association of Directors of Public Health

Professor Linda Bauld, UK Centre for Tobacco & Alcohol Studies

Professor Jane Dacre, President, Royal College of Physicians

Professor Nick Sheron, Head of Clinical Hepatology, University of Southampton

Terry Martin, Alcohelp

Nigel Bongard, Alcohelp

Shirley Cramer CBE, Chief Executive, Royal Society for Public Health

Justina Murray, Chief Executive, Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol and Drugs

Janet Davies, General Secretary, Royal College of Nursing

Dr Kieran Moriarty, British Society of Gastroenterology

Caroline Moye, Head of World Cancer Research Fund UK

Prof John Ashton, Faculty of Public Health

Dr Helen Toal, Consultant Psychiatrist in Addictions, Honorary Lecturer, Queens University Belfast

Professor Robin Touquet, Emeritus Professor of Emergency Medicine, Imperial College London & St Mary’s Hospital Paddington

Professor Matthew Cramp, President, British Association for the Study of the Liver

Professor Jonathan Shepherd, Director, Violence Research Group, University of Cardiff

Professor Frank Murray, Chair, Alcohol Health Alliance Ireland

Dr Christopher Record, Consultant Hepatologist, Newcastle Upon Tyne

John Jolly, Chief Executive Officer, Blenheim CDP

Professor Roger Williams, CBE, Director, Institute of Hepatology London

Vivienne Evans OBE, Chief Executive, Adfam

Professor David Galloway, President, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow

Revd Loraine Mellor, President of the Methodist Conference

Diane Goslar