Budget 2015: Chancellor announces cuts in alcohol duty

18th March 2015:

Responding to the announcement from the Chancellor George Obsorne that alcohol duty is to be cut, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK said:

“It is disgraceful that the Chancellor has once again prioritised the interests of big business over public health by giving further tax breaks to the alcohol industry. This decision is a slap in the face to our doctors, nurses and emergency services on the frontline that are paying the price for this cut. With over 1 million alcohol-related hospital attendances every year, our NHS simply cannot afford for alcohol to get cheaper.

“The government’s own figures show that alcohol related harm costs the UK £21 billion every single year. With less than half of this recouped through current levels of taxation, to suggest lowering taxes even further is thoroughly shameful.

“These cuts also mean that cheap, strong alcohol that gets into the hands of our children will be even more affordable now.

“The government must listen to public opinion. Over three quarters have said no to further tax cuts on alcohol – it’s now time for our MPs to stand up and do the right thing by voting against these proposals.”

Dr Cliff Mann, President of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine said:

“The link between cost and alcohol related injury and illness is beyond doubt, it is perverse to make alcohol more available at a time when we need to reduce the burden on our emergency departments

“The Royal College of Emergency Medicine is strongly supportive of moves to increase the cost of alcohol by introducing a minimum pricing strategy.”

Katherine Brown, Director of the Institute of Alcohol Studies said:

“To cut tax on cider and spirits at a time when the NHS is at breaking point is a total disgrace. Our frontline services simply can’t afford for cheap drink to get cheaper.

“Police, doctors, nurses and paramedics up and down the country have to deal with the results of a flooded cheap drinks market every day. Yet their voices and calls for support have been totally ignored.

“This government’s failure to keep its promise to come down hard on cheap alcohol has let everybody down except the drinks industry. It’s let the NHS down, the police down, but most of all it lets every taxpayer down. We are all footing the £21billion bill of alcohol harm to our economy each year.”