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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Letters to the Telegraph
Gordon's the drunkards' best friend

When Gordon Brown launches his crackdown on teenage binge drinking (News, September 23), I trust that he will reflect on his own contribution to the problem. As Chancellor, he set the levels of excise duty that have fuelled alcohol consumption while presiding over a fall in alcohol prices to historically low levels in relation to income. Today, per capita consumption levels in Britain outstrip those of both the French and the Germans.

Despite this, his tax policy looks set to continue. Treasury projections for excise duties on alcohol, tobacco and fuel show that they will continue to drop while other taxes continue to rise in relative terms.

The Prime Minister would only demonstrate a genuine commitment to stemming young people's drinking if he was to reverse these trends.

Kathy Gyngell, Centre for Policy Studies, London SW1