Rochdale MP, Tony Lloyd, is calling on the Prime Minister to take bold action to tackle alcohol-related harm.
Tony said, “Tragically, alcohol kills more people each year. Despite this, the last Government Alcohol Strategy was introduced ten years ago.
“It is the next generation who will suffer hugely from rising alcohol harm, including the impact on children of alcohol dependent parents and those with foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD).
“These harms are not felt equally across society. Those from poorer backgrounds are significantly more likely to feel the adverse impacts of alcohol, despite drinking less alcohol on average.
“If we address alcohol-related harm, we will properly ‘level-up’ and reduce health inequalities.”
Tony joins several cross-party MPs and charity organisations in writing to the Prime Minister, calling for more action now by conducting an Independent Review of Alcohol. The last Government Alcohol Strategy was introduced in 2012, and whilst the letter commends proposals for a “new strength-based alcohol duty system and the forthcoming alcohol labelling consultation”, it highlights that the government could be doing more.
Alcohol is the leading risk factor for death, ill-health, and disability amongst 15-49-year-olds. It causes more working years of life lost than the ten most common cancers combined. The Covid pandemic has further exacerbated the situation to crisis point, with deaths from alcohol rising to an all-time high.
In total, alcohol costs society at least £27 billion every year, of which less than half is offset by tax revenue on alcohol. This includes direct costs such as the £11.4 billion incurred by alcohol-related crime, as well as indirect costs such as contributing to overweight and obesity. Health implications from alcohol are estimated to cost the NHS £2 billion per year.
Recent research has shown that changes in alcohol consumption during the Covid pandemic are likely to lead to thousands of additional cases of disease, premature deaths, and hospitalisations, which will be compounded by rising economic and social harms and depleting treatment services.