Drinks industry: Alcohol tax hikes "illogical"

13 November, 2007

The drinks industry says moves suggested by the newly formed Alcohol Health Alliance to cut alcohol abuse would be "illogical" and have "little or no impact" on the problem.

Launched today, the AHA - a coalition of 24 health organisations - is urging the government to bring in a number of measures, including raising tax on alcohol and introducing a ban on alcohol advertising to prevent the rise in alcohol-related diseases.

It says the government has so far failed to curb binge drinking and that the number of people dying from alcohol related deaths is rising.

However, David Poley, chief executive of the Portman Group said raising taxes would not solve the problem.

“Considering taxing adult drinkers to stop children breaking the law is illogical, especially as international comparisons prove that higher prices would not deter binge drinkers or people addicted to alcohol,” he said.

Five key drinks organisations - the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, the British Beer & Pub Association, the Gin & Vodka Association, the National Association of Cider Makers and the Scotch Whisky Association - have already hit out at the AHA's proposals.

They sent an open letter to professor Ian Gilmore of the AHA three days before the launch, challenging the campaign.

It said: “In our view, the measures you are seeking would increase the burden on taxpayers, further restrict personal freedoms and limit consumer choice, while at the same time have little or no impact on alcohol misuse. In fact, in some areas it may make the situation worse by encouraging an illicit market in alcohol.”

To see OLN's earlier story on this click here .

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