Radical plans to turn the tide against irresponsible drinking and empower communities were unveiled by Theresa May.
The link between drink and social harm is clear, with almost 1million violent crimes and 1.2 million hospital admissions involving alcohol in 2010/11 alone.
This means police and hospital staff are fighting a constant battle against the effects of drunkenness, with the taxpayer left picking up a bill of around £21billion a year.
The government’s Alcohol Strategy sets out proposals to:
- crackdown on ‘binge drinking’ culture
- cut booze-fuelled violence and disorder that blights communities
- slash the number of people drinking to harmful levels
Theresa May said: ‘We all know there is a significant minority in this country who drink dangerously and who cause disproportionate harm. Drunken brawls and disorder have made many town centres no-go areas for law-abiding citizens.
‘The effects of such dangerous drinking - on crime; on communities; on children and on families - are clear. So we need to deal with the dangerous drinkers, crack down on the irresponsible businesses and stem the tide of cheap alcohol.
‘That means providing punishment and treatment for those who have shown they can’t drink sensibly. It means tightening our licensing laws and cracking down on those who sell alcohol to children or drunks. And it means, for the first time, putting a sensible price on those drinks that cause harm.
‘Most drinks will not be affected, but cheap vodka, super strength cider and lagers will go up in price. The dangerous drinks will become more expensive; the price of a normal pint in the local pub will not increase by a single penny.’
The strategy aims to:
- Stem the flow of cheap alcohol, make sure alcohol is sold at a sensible and appropriate price
- Put local people back at the heart of licensing decisions, and crack down on problem premises and alcohol-related offending
- Build on the Responsibility Deal with greater industry action to prevent alcohol misuse
- Support individuals to change by helping them make informed choices about healthier and responsible drinking