A day in Parliament for Alcohol Awareness Week

July 2023 | 9 minutes

During Alcohol Awareness Week Alcohol Change UK met with MPs in Westminster to talk about the true cost of alcohol, from health and relationship difficulties to problems with family and finances.

We joined forces with the Alcohol Heath Alliance, the Institute for Alcohol Studies and Adfam for our special Alcohol Awareness Week drop-in event in Parliament.

MPs and peers heard first-hand about the impact that alcohol can have from Michael Sargood, Alcohol Change UK Ambassador and Founder of Sober Socials website.

Politicians we spoke with shared their own stories about alcohol harm among friends, colleagues or family. They were shocked to hear that the average drinker in the UK spends around £62,899 on alcohol over a lifetime and that alcohol harm costs the economy £27bn a year.

As lawmakers, politicians have a crucial role to play in tackling alcohol harm and rising alcohol-specific deaths, which are at a record high. We talked about the urgent need for a new government alcohol strategy, including better labelling, increased funding for treatment and support, a reduction in cheap alcohol and protection at work for people who are alcohol dependent in the Equality Act.

It was fantastic to see so many politicians interested in learning more and taking action to reduce alcohol harm. Members left armed with a goody-bag including a mocktail from Mocktails and advice for supporting constituents who are worried about their drinking.

Watch this short video to hear more from attendees, including MPs Christian Wakeford and Dan Carden, who co-hosted the event.

“When alcohol-related deaths have gone up to record levels, when the cost to the economy is at an all-time high, we really need to be talking much more about alcohol and our own relationship with it.” Christian Wakeford MP

We will be working with the politicians we met moving forward to get them to help us push the government on policies that we know will make a difference to reducing alcohol harm.

The conversations at this event were part of a wave of activities and events that happened across the country for Alcohol Awareness Week. Over 5,000 community groups took part, starting conversations and sharing advice about drinking and its impact in families, workplaces and communities.

Find out more about the Equality Act here

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