Alcohol Change UK responds to the Chancellor's fiscal statement

September 2022 | 6 minutes

Responding to today's fiscal statement from the Chancellor, Dr Richard Piper, Chief Executive at Alcohol Change UK, said:

"Cancelling the planned increase on alcohol duty is damaging and will cause more harm than good. Evidence clearly shows that cutting duty increases alcohol harm. Alcohol is the number one risk factor in death, ill-health and disability amongst the working age population. On top of this, increased alcohol consumption undermines economic growth. In the context of a cost-of-living crisis, the government could focus on reducing the costs of essentials, instead of making a non-essential item like alcohol even more affordable.

"We welcome the new government taking forward the duty reforms that were announced in the Autumn Budget 2021. However, the duty freeze will cost the Treasury half a billion pounds a year each year in lost revenue. This is revenue that could be used to tackle the harm caused by alcohol, whether that’s for the NHS, the police or the courts. Duty freezes also make cheap supermarket alcohol even cheaper relative to pubs and restaurants and, therefore, will not actually help to stimulate the hospitality sector.

"Alcohol consumption has multiple detrimental effects on individuals and society. It causes seven cancers, heart conditions, strokes, anxiety, depression, and is linked to an enormous amount of crime and disorder. It damages families and communities costing society billions through the courts and the NHS. There are many effective solutions to reduce alcohol harm and we need the government to step up and implement these."