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Warning over excess drinking impact

03 April 2015 08:22

Binge drinking is costing taxpayers money, research shows

Binge drinking is costing taxpayers money, research shows

Binge drinking is driving up the risk of people developing certain costly medical conditions.

And researchers from the University of Bath's Institute for Policy Research, and the University of Essex have now also found that excessive drinking is costing UK taxpayers £4.9 billion a year.

Health consequences

Excessive drinking can lead to health conditions such as liver disease and high blood pressure.

These can affect people's lives in a number of ways, for instance on holiday.

Holiday-goers may be required to take out specific medical travel insurance in order to safeguard themselves when overseas.

Financial impact

Along with health issues, the new research shows there are also major financial effects which stem from binge drinking, including A&E admissions, road accidents and police officers on duty.

It is thought that binge drinking increases the average daily number of injury-related admissions to A&E by 8%, or 2,504 additional daily admissions nationally.

Meanwhile, the average number of road accidents each day goes up by 17%, or 82 additional accidents a day nationally.

In turn, the study found that binge drinking causes the average number of alcohol-related arrests to rise by 45%, equal to 786 additional arrests per day nationally.

Plans for reform

Binge drinking is recognised nationally as a problem both from a health point of view and socially, but only limited research has been carried out about its financial cost.

The researchers say the best way to offset the cost of binge drinking is to set a 52 pence minimum unit price for alcohol and increase alcohol excise duty directly in line with alcohol strength.

This would mean a pint of beer would go up by 23 pence, while a bottle of wine would increase by almost a pound.