Taxing the Binge-Drinker
In his Budget speech, Chancellor Alistair Darling took aboard the current problems the country has been facing with under-aged binge drinking which has been linked to the increased levels of alcohol-related crime on our streets. He has introduced a 6% above inflation charge on alcohol and a further 2% every year for the next four years.
Patricia Hewitt, the former Secretary of State for Health, stated back in 2006 that an increase in tax on alcopops and other alcoholic drinks favoured by teenagers would have the greatest effect of reducing the number of under-aged binge drinkers in our communities. It has taken this long for move to made reflecting this worrying trend amongst the youth of Britain.
The cost of a bottle of wine would be around £4.45 in 1997, using today's prices, but is now only £4 a bottle. It is hoped that with the rise in cost of alcohol fewer teenagers will have access to sufficient funds to afford to buy so much alcohol.
A pint of beer will increase by 4pence, whilst cider will go up by 3pence per litre. The cost of wine will be increased by 14pence a bottle and the price of spirits will be increased by 55pence a bottle. This is the biggest increase in alcohol prices since the 1970s, however, the price of alcohol has hardly changed since the 1990s. Some say that these changes have been needed for a long time and play a small part in sorting out the problems that the young in the UK have with controlling their alcohol consumption and having such easy access to alcoholic drinks, especially alcopops.
As well as alcohol being too accessible to the young, there has been a worrying increase in the new disease of the young - liver failure - due to alcohol. The number of hospital admissions on weekend nights due to alcohol-related injuries have also be dramatically increased. The rise in alcohol prices is hoped to help reduce the number of teenage alcohol-related crimes committed on our streets.
Increasing the tax on tobacco has been shown to work as a deterrent, helping to reduce the number of young people smoking. Hopefully, this rise in duty on alcohol will also start the ball rolling to stop the increasing levels of binge-drinking in the UK and prevent the UK from being the worse offender in Europe.
By Dr Judith Juhasz for Whatprice.co.uk
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