Tories accused of inaction over UK drinking deaths – 10 years after alcohol strategy

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Ten years ago today, David Cameron vowed to kick binge drinking to the curb and introduce minimum pricing of alcohol. Labor MP Dan Carden has urged the Government to recommit to helping victims of substance abuse

A record number of Brits are dying from alcohol abuse because of a “decade of Tory inaction”, an MP has claimed.

Labour’s Dan Carden said lives could have been saved if the Conservatives had not axed plans for the minimum pricing of alcohol.

Ten years ago today, David Cameron launched the Tories ‘Alcohol Strategy’ which aimed to cut the number of heavy drinkers and ease the burden on the NHS.

But plans for minimum unit pricing – raising the cost of the cheapest booze – were shelved.

In 2020, there were 8,974 alcohol-specific deaths across the UK. This up 18.6% from 2019 when there were 7,565 alcohol-specific deaths recorded across the UK.







David Cameron launched an alcohol strategy soon after he became Prime Minister in 2012
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AFP via Getty Images)

The rise was described as “statistically significant” by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), which published the figures

Needs a comparative figure. What was it in 2019 or 2012?

Four out of five those alcohol-specific deaths in 2020 – defined as being a direct consequence of alcohol misuse – were from liver disease.

On top of this, the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) found only one in five dependent drinkers have had access to treatment.

Mr Carden renewed calls for an Independent Review of Alcohol Harm and an Alcohol Strategy.

He told the Mirror: “After a decade of inaction, this is not an anniversary worth celebrating.

“With record alcohol-specific deaths, rising economic and social harms, and depleted treatment services, people are rightly asking why it has taken so long for the Government to bring forward a plan to tackle alcohol harm.

“We need to remove barriers to effective action, including the undue influence of corporate lobbyists on policy decisions. Government must finally put public health first. Lives depend on it.”







Britain’s drinking deaths rose at record rates during the pandemic
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Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the AHA added: “The situation has never looked bleaker.

“Deaths from alcohol are now at record highs, only one in five dependent drinkers are in treatment and alcohol causes 46 cancer cases every day. Meanwhile, the Alcohol Industry lines its pockets.

“We need a strategy with measures to stop the incessant promotion of alcohol, give consumers information on harms, and to properly fund alcohol treatment.”

Boris Johnson included plans to tackle alcohol-related crime in his 10-year drug strategy.

In his 10-year drug plan, Mr Johnson vowed to deliver “world-class drug and alcohol treatment” and a recovery system across England.

By the end of 2024/25 the Government promises to deliver at least 54,500 new high-quality drug and alcohol treatment places, a 19% increase on current numbers.

Mr Carden has talked openly in Parliament about his battles to get support for alcohol addiction.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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