Tony Lloyd MP has shown his support for an increase in alcohol duty to fund public health and prevention services. The MP for Rochdale met members of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA) at the recent Labour Autumn Conference.
Mr Lloyd discussed the AHA’s ‘What would you choose?’ campaign, which calls for an increase in alcohol duty by 2% above inflation at the next Budget. The AHA wants to see an end to annual tax support to alcohol companies which are costing the government more than £1 billion in lost revenue – money which could pay the salaries of 40,000 nurses or 28,500 police officers.
Alcohol costs the NHS England £3.5 billion every year, and continues to cause substantial harm to families and communities. Every day, more than 80 people die of alcohol-related causes across the UK. Alcohol also contributes to rates of child abuse and neglect, domestic violence, family breakdown, and crime and disorder.
Alcohol treatment can be fundamental in helping people turn their lives around and save families and communities from further harm. However, currently only 20% of people are accessing the support they need, and public health grants to local authorities have been massively cut. That’s why the AHA is asking the government to increase alcohol duty, raising much needed additional revenue which can be invested in public health and prevention services.
Tony Lloyd MP said: “An increase in alcohol duty would help fund health and prevention services. Alcohol causes substantial harms to families and communities in Rochdale and across the UK. When asked by members of the Alcohol Health Alliance the stark question ‘what would you choose?’, the answer is clear. I am backing targeted, evidence-based measures aimed at making Rochdale safer and reducing alcohol harm.”
Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, said: “While the alcohol industry continues to receive tax breaks and make big profits, people are experiencing significant harms associated with alcohol. We urgently need to prioritise reducing the harm that alcohol causes, instead of supporting the drinks companies that fuel it.
“According to a host of independent experts, including the World Health Organisation, increasing alcohol taxes is one of the most effective and cost-effective ways to reduce alcohol harm and it can save lives. We know that the majority of the public are willing to pay higher taxes for alcohol if the money goes into funding public services impacted by alcohol use, such as the NHS and police.”
The AHA is encouraging people to back the campaign. To find out more visit http://ahauk.org/duty-2019/