Leading voices in alcohol recovery sector call on Government to aim high with a pioneering new alcohol strategy

Maddy Lawson | October 2018 | 7 minutes

Thirty organisations across civil society have put their names behind a new Alcohol Charter urging the government to reduce the damage to society caused by alcohol.

The Charter, published by the Drugs, Alcohol and Justice Cross Party Parliamentary Group and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm, calls for the government to publish a new evidence-based alcohol strategy to improve support for those in need, protect public health and help tackle alcohol-related crime and disorder.

With the Government Alcohol Strategy being published next year and the upcoming NHS 10-year plan, which includes alcohol as a key area for focus, the Alcohol Charter’s recommendations are timely and urgently needed.

The first recommendation is to increase alcohol duties by 1% above RPI, to provide £100 million ring-fenced for alcohol treatment services. This policy has been developed as a result of our treatment report in May, which found that alcohol treatment services are facing a funding crisis. Learn more about this policy..

Dr Richard Piper, Chief Executive of the charity formed by the merger of Alcohol Concern and Alcohol Research UK, said:

“The need to reduce alcohol harm is urgent. Our liver wards are overflowing. Over 200,000 children in the UK live with one or more alcohol-dependent parent or carer. In fact, almost every member of society is affected by alcohol harm, whether through violence, lost productivity at work, and increased costs and pressure for the emergency services, courts and prisons.

“And it will only get worse as alcohol treatment services are in crisis, leaving those struggling with alcohol with no support. That is why we are calling for an alcohol treatment levy; increasing alcohol duties by 1% above RPI – equivalent to just 3p more on the average pint of beer – would provide £100 million to improve services, help families and reduce costs to the NHS by up to £300 million.

“Alcohol harm is avoidable. This Alcohol Charter provides the Government with practical, workable measures to include in the upcoming Alcohol Strategy, including the treatment levy, that will reduce alcohol harm and improve people’s lives across the country.”

Download pdf

Alcohol Charter

- All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm

Download the Charter here (2.46Mb)

Thirty organisations across civil society have put their names behind a new Alcohol Charter urging the government to reduce the damage to society caused by alcohol.

The Charter, published by the Drugs, Alcohol and Justice Cross Party Parliamentary Group and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm, calls for the government to publish a new evidence-based alcohol strategy to improve support for those in need, protect public health and help tackle alcohol-related crime and disorder.

The document, prepared in consultation with the Alcohol Health Alliance, Alcohol Concern / Alcohol Research UK and the Institute for Alcohol Studies, entreats policy makers to follow the recommendations of the Public Health England alcohol evidence review and urgently tackle the increased availability of cheap alcohol and empower the public to make fully informed decisions about their drinking.

The Charter calls on the government to outline concrete measures to moderate harmful drinking and address the million-plus alcohol-related hospital admissions each year in England. Without tangible counter measures alcohol is set to cost the NHS £17 billion in the next five years alone.

Drugs, Alcohol & Justice Cross-Party Parliamentary Group Co-Chair Mary Glindon MP said:

“With dozens of alcohol-related deaths across the UK every day, we decided that rather than wait ages for the Government’s Alcohol Strategy, we should promote a programme of actions which could reduce harm levels dramatically.”

Drugs, Alcohol & Justice Cross-Party Parliamentary Group Co-Chair Lord Ramsbotham said:

“We believe action is needed urgently to address the cost to society inflicted by excessive alcohol. We hope our Charter will help focus attention on the issue; and that the Government will adopt these concrete steps as a basis for their forthcoming Alcohol Strategy.”

Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, commented:

“This Alcohol Charter is an important document which outlines many policies that the AHA has been calling for. The Government needs to ensure that the upcoming Alcohol Strategy includes evidence-based policies which work to reduce alcohol harm and tackle the increased availability of super cheap alcohol. The best ways to do that is by introducing minimum unit pricing in England – which we already have in Scotland and will soon have in Wales – and increasing alcohol duty.”

Fiona Bruce MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm, said:

“With alcohol harm the leading cause of death among 15 to 49-year-olds, Government must urgently take much stronger action to address this, and could do no better than by implementing the excellent proposals in our Alcohol Charter without delay.”