Calls for the return of alcohol duty

Campaigners say any cuts to drink prices in this year’s Budget would be bad news for the NHS and economy.

Officials at Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, say making drinks cheaper would have a negative impact.

The alcohol industry has campaigned for duty to be lowered after the government abolished the duty escalator last year.

Balance is backing calls for the government to bring back the alcohol duty escalator in this year’s budget.

The Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) is urging political parties to stop listening to the industry and pledge their support for a range of recommendations so that alcohol duty makes a fairer contribution to reducing alcohol’s burden on society.

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, said: “Enough alcohol is sold in the north east for every drinker to be consuming at or above the recommended male weekly limit, putting them at risk of a myriad of health conditions.

“Cutting alcohol prices further will only lead to increased sales of alcohol, more harm for the people of the north east and extra pressure on our health services.

“Alcohol has a huge impact on our frontline services here in the north east.

“Politicians can help to lessen that strain and the toll on public health by supporting the measures that the AHA is proposing.”