Issue date: 10/07/2007
Martin Plant, Professor of Addiction Studies at UWE, is backing a call from a group of senior politicians for higher alcohol taxation. In a letter in today's Guardian Newspaper, Professor Plant has written as follows:
The Conservative Party's Social Justice Policy Group has recommended that taxation should be used to curb binge drinking. This Group is to be congratulated for raising an 'inconvenient truth.' The UK is one very few Western countries where alcohol consumption, as well related mortality and public nuisance, have been rising steadily. A series of authoritative reports from Government advisors, medical and scientific authorities have drawn attention to the fact that controlling the availability of alcohol is essential in order to reduce heavy drinking and its related harm. Moreover, the UK is a signatory to the World Health Organization's European Charter. This commits governments to "promote health by controlling the availability, for example, for young people, and influencing the price of alcohol alcoholic beverages, for instance by taxation." Few credible scientists contest the fact that price control is vital if the UK's appalling level of alcohol-related harm is to be reduced. It is not enough to use empty rhetoric or to rely or low impact policy options. The latter include alcohol education, exhortation, media campaigns or unjustified advice (such as asking pregnant women not to drink at all. . . . . .
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