Ellie Ames 20 May 2024

Alcohol harm costs England £27.4bn a year

Alcohol harm costs England £27.4bn a year image
Image: bogubogu / Shutterstock.com

Research has uncovered a £27.4bn annual bill for alcohol-related harm in England, prompting a call for local powers to control alcohol availability in the worst affected areas.

The Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS), which calculated the cost, said the £12.5bn raised annually in alcohol tax revenue was ‘dwarfed’ in comparison.

It is the first time the cost of harm caused by alcohol has been calculated since 2003, when the Cabinet Office estimated it was between £18.5bn and £20bn for England and Wales.

In 2012, this figure was adjusted by inflation to £21bn and has since been the most cited.

The IAS analysed the costs to healthcare, the criminal justice system, social services, and to the wider economy due to lost productivity.

IAS chief executive Dr Katherine Severi said: ‘Year after year, we have seen steady increases in alcohol consumption, and deaths are at a record high.

‘Now we have data to show that the financial cost of harm has risen too. As a country we cannot afford to sit back and do nothing.’

The IAS urged the Government to introduce minimum unit pricing, raise alcohol duty, restrict marketing, and empower local leaders to control the availability of alcohol in areas with high rates of harm.

The institute has published cost breakdowns for England's local authority areas.

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