Alcohol Harm

Fiona Bruce MP Calls on Chancellor to take action in the Budget to Tackle Alcohol Harm
Fiona Bruce MP as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Alcohol Harm is calling on the Government to take action to address the devastating harms caused to young and vulnerable people by cheap, high strength alcohol. Her calls follow a debate lead by Fiona Bruce MP in Parliament on 2nd February entitled “Tackling Alcohol Harm”, which received a great amount of cross party support.
With at times heart-rending speeches in the House of Commons during the debate, Fiona Bruce MP, alongside other Members of Parliament, spoke of the all too often forgotten harms caused by alcohol, from those injured in road traffic accidents to children and partners caught up in domestic violence, patients needing treatments for serious illnesses who have to wait because precious NHS resources are being used to tackle the issue, to taxpayers through the tax bill we all pay for the cost of treating alcohol harm.
In response to the powerful debate, the Government Health Minister responding, Nicola Blackwood MP, agreed to work with concerned MPs to put a plan in place taken to tackle the terrible harms caused by alcohol. Following this, Fiona Bruce MP in an open letter to the Chancellor has led several other MPs to challenge Chancellor Phillip Hammond MP to change the duty on cheap cider, often drunk by young people with damaging health effects, in the next week’s Spring Budget (8thMarch).
Fiona Bruce MP said: “As Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm, I have been shocked and saddened to hear countless stories of the harms inflicted by excessive drinking across our society. Only this week I heard the heartrending account of the Mum of a teenager whose daughter went out for the evening and drank 3 bottles of high strength cider. She came home feeling unwell, her mum put her to bed, and tragically found her dead the next morning. I am calling on the Chancellor to take action in the Budget to increase the duty on high strength ‘white’ ciders, such as Frosty Jack’s, to help reduce the high level of harm caused by these drinks, which are the drink of choice of the young, vulnerable and also the homeless, often because they are cheapest way of getting drunk. For about £3.50 young people can buy white cider with the equivalent alcohol in it of 22 shots of vodka. This is not about condemning responsible drinking – our group wants people to enjoy alcohol responsibly – it is about preventing the devastating consequences of excessive drinking which can be so damaging.”

Sir Ian Gilmore, who has campaigned with Fiona Bruce MP, said this week “There is no good reason for the Chancellor not to increase the duty on high strength cider.”
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