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Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Could do better Darling

The Chancellor Alistair Darling’s taxation increase on alcohol by 2%, is a step in the right direction, but to be honest, it really doesn’t go far enough.

We've been campaigning for some time for higher taxes on alcoholic drinks, but crucially, this increase should be proportionate to the amount of alcohol in the product.

Today’s rise announced by the Chancellor won’t necessarily end irresponsible promotional activities like happy hours and two-for-one offers, or the deep discounting carried out by supermarkets. A minimum price for alcohol, which we advocate, would put a stop to such practices, at the same as enabling pubs and bars to better compete with supermarkets.

Since 1997, taxes on wine and beer in the UK have only increased in line with inflation, while taxes on spirits have not increased at all. There is strong and consistent evidence that alcoholic price increases, result in reduced consumption.

Alcohol misuse not only costs lives, it also costs the country many millions of pounds. The NHS spends millions every year on treating and dealing with alcohol problems and the criminal justice system also spends similarly large amounts dealing with alcohol-related and drink-driving offences. The UK government has today, missed an opportunity to act on this.

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