Wednesday, 22 April 2009

In praise of alcohol

So the duty on alcohol has gone up in the budget today, as usual. But what is the backstory?

Thanks to our media friends the dangers of alcohol are well documented, and these dangers come with a fiscal price to our society.

The cost of alcohol misuse to the NHS was estimated to be around £2.7 billion back in 2006/7.

There are indirect costs associated too: policing, social care and 'opportunity costs'.

The duty raised in that period was around £8 billion. That is revenue derived at the source of production. There is a whole industry associated with that production and it contributes corporation tax and personnel income tax too. It also supports an allied traders industry making similar contributions.

Then the alcohol is sold on to a retail industry (more corporate tax revenue) which supports a workforce of millions (more income tax) and sells it on to you and I with value added tax.

All in all society is quids in all round thanks to alcohol.

So raise a glass (of beer) to alcohol, its industry and the vast revenue accrued from it - we'd be pretty stuck without it.

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