Response to the Chancellor’s announcement that alcohol duty will be frozen for spirits and cider, and cut for beer, from Alcohol Focus Scotland and Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP)
Dr Evelyn Gillan, Chief Executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland said:
“It is so disappointing that the Chancellor and other politicians have once again listened to the alcohol industry rather than the people working to reduce alcohol harm and improve public health. We know that cheap alcohol cost lives - twenty lives every week in Scotland. The ban on below cost selling in England will be completely ineffective, so it was vital that the alcohol duty escalator was maintained.
“No one should be surprised that the spirits industry, represented by the Scotch Whisky Association, campaigned against alcohol duty increases just as they have fronted the industry campaign against minimum unit pricing. What is surprising is that a number of MPs from parties which have supported alcohol price controls in Scotland, appear to have supported them.”
Dr Peter Rice, Chair of SHAAP said:
“This is bad news for health; cheap alcohol costs 20 lives every week in Scotland and millions of pounds dealing with the damage to our health and to our communities. Making alcohol cheaper will only add to the problem.
We have all welcomed the reductions in alcohol related hospital admissions and alcohol related death; down from the significant highs of the 1990s. The Alcohol Duty Escalator has been one of the factors contributing to these improvements, which the scrapping all the more disappointing.
Scottish politicians have made some ground breaking policy to reduce alcohol related harm and it is disappointing to see that some of them appear to have supported this backwards step.”