The Institute of Alcohol Studies has written to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak requesting an increase in alcohol duty of 2% in the upcoming Budget this year.

The letter urges the chancellor and the UK Government to do all they can ‘to help stem the tide of alcohol harm’ and the nation’s health service tries to deal with the current pandemic. It also suggests that raising duties will provide the ‘double dividend’ of both reducing the alcohol harms and generating vital public revenues at this crucial time for HM Treasury, which has calculated that that alcohol duty cuts and freezes since 2012 have cost £1.3 billion annually in lost revenue – the equivalent of the salary of 41,000 nurses.

The move is supported by the public in several opinion polls, and by pub landlords as a way to level the playing field between on- and off-trade businesses.

IAS Chief Executive Dr Katherine Severi writes:

The forthcoming Budget is an opportunity to take meaningful action, during these unprecedented times, to protect the health and wellbeing of the nation, prevent additional burden on the NHS and avoidable financial losses. I do hope you will consider this evidence in your decision-making over the coming weeks [the Budget will take place on 03 March 2021].

Please click on this link to read the letter in full.