Responding to the Chancellor’s decision to freeze alcohol duty at the Autumn budget, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, said:
“The decision to freeze alcohol duty today is utterly frustrating news. Freezing duty makes alcohol cheaper to buy in real terms. We know that the cheaper alcohol is, the more is consumed, and the more damage done. Cheap alcohol has unquestionably played a part in the record number of alcohol related deaths and hospital admissions we are now experiencing.
“But alcohol harm goes beyond health consequences, it also brings great economic and societal losses. Every year alcohol duty is frozen it costs the Treasury £1.8billion – money that could otherwise be used to fund our struggling NHS. It is also bad for pubs; the biggest threat to hospitality is competition from cheap, supermarket alcohol, and the gap in price rises when duty is cut and frozen. Freezing duty today will mean the nation suffers the consequences while the drinks industry continues to line its pockets.
“Reintroducing the alcohol duty escalator from 2008-2014 – which increased duty by 2% above inflation each year – would save lives, help hospitality, and contribute to Treasury revenue.”