Ireland: Super Cheap Alcohol Fuels Harm
Alcohol Action Ireland is calling on the Irish government to retain the current level of excise duty, to introduce a Social Responsibility levy on all alcohol and demands the immediate enactment of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill including the Minimum Unit Pricing measure. The calls come among rising consumption fueled by super cheap alcohol generally preferred by young people and heaviest alcohol users.
Ireland has a significant crisis with alcohol,” writes Alcohol Action Ireland.
Recent data regrettably demonstrates that our consumption level continues to rise.
The central drivers of such high-risk consumption are price and availability and, in this context, given the scale of known alcohol related harms, it would be unwise now for our government to consider any lowering of current excise regime.”
The estimated cost to Irish society of alcohol harm is estimated at €2.35 billion. In contrast, the 2016 excise receipts on alcohol was €1.1 billion, this highlights a shortfall of at least €1.2billion. The wider societal costs reflect the impact across the major areas of public expenditure, specifically Health, Justice and Social Protection.
Super cheap, super harmful
A survey carried out by Alcohol Action Ireland shows that it is possible to reach the weekly recommended limit of alcohol use for only €4.95 for women and for €7.65 for men.
The annual price survey was part of Alcohol Action Ireland’s 2018 Pre-Budget submission. As part of the survey, Alcohol Action Ireland detailed how both men and women can reach their weekly recommended alcohol limit for under €10 while using wine, liquor, beer and cider high in alcohol content.
Alcohol Action Ireland emphasized the recommendation of the 2012 National Substance Misuse Strategy, which proposed the introduction of a ‘social responsibility’ levy through which the alcohol industry would pay for the social and health harms caused by their products and practices. It is estimated that such a levy could raise over €60 million in a full year. This level of available funding would adequately cover the current public expenditure on sports participation programs and the private funding placed in alcohol sponsorship of sport.
To curb alcohol harm in the country Minimum Unit Pricing is a central instrument. MUP will serve to make the strongest, cheapest alcohol in the off-trade less attractive to those vulnerable groups who select alcohol products on such a basis.