Dear Mr Jones, I am writing to draw your attention to the problems associated with cheap, high strength alcohol products such as white cider, and to ask for your support as we call on the Government to take action to protect our most vulnerable communities in next year’s spring Budget.
We have produced a short video, which we hope will be of interest, summarising the scale of the problem, and laying out the policy solutions.
Also attached a recent report from the Alcohol Health Alliance, which revealed the shockingly low prices of many drinks. Incredibly, large bottles of strong white cider, containing as much alcohol as 22 shots of vodka, were found on sale for as little as £3.49. Such products are drunk almost exclusively by underage and dependent drinkers and have a devastating impact, with over a million hospitalisations and 23,000 deaths each year in England due to alcohol.
The system of taxation on alcohol, branded “a mess” by the Institute for Fiscal Studies, currently contributes to this problem. The structure of cider duty in particular perversely incentivises the production of stronger alcohol, supporting the high strength cider market. Furthermore, successive real term cuts in alcohol duties since 2012 will cost the Treasury a total of £2.9 billion in the five years to 2018.