Alcohol duty rise will save lives
Lives will be saved as a result of changes to the UK’s alcohol duty system, coming into effect today (August 1st). Alcohol duty will be increased in line with inflation and the duty system is going to be based on alcoholic strength.
Alcohol duty has been cut or frozen almost every year for the past decade. As a result, alcohol has become significantly more affordable, and this has resulted in increased alcohol consumption and harms.
Today’s increase will not only mitigate further harms, but will also help to raise much needed funds to offset the major economic impact resulting from alcohol harms. Currently, the overall UK revenue from alcohol duty (£10.5-12.1 billion) is less than half of the estimated costs of alcohol to society (£27 billion).
The reforms to the duty system so that is now based on alcoholic strength will also act to decrease harms, as it discourages the production of cheap, high-strength products which are primarily consumed by heavy and vulnerable drinkers.
Elinor Jayne, SHAAP Director, commented:
“Alcohol harm in Scotland and the rest of the UK is a public health crisis, with deaths and hospitalisations from alcohol increasing at an alarming rate.
“These harms are directly related to alcohol affordability: cheaper alcohol results in increased consumption, higher levels of harm and ultimately more people dying as a result of alcohol.
“Increasing alcohol duty in line with inflation and basing the system on alcoholic strength will decrease population-wide consumption and therefore reduce the number of people tragically losing their lives to alcohol.
“On top of the floor price set by Minimum Unit Pricing in Scotland, today’s changes will save lives and raise much needed money for the public purse, which can be used to offset some of the harms caused by alcohol.”