Drinkers ‘subsidise’ non-drinkers by £6.5bn a year
Drinkers in England pay billions of pounds more in alcohol taxes than they take out in healthcare, police and other public expenditures, a new report has shown.
The new figures came to light following a report by think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs.
Using the latest health, crime and alcohol consumption data, the report disproved assumptions that drinkers are a “burden” on taxpayers, when infact the net cost of alcohol to the government is -£6.5bn.
When drinking costs including the NHS, police, criminal justice and welfare are combined, they amount to just under £4bn every year, compared to alcohol tax revenues which stand at £10bn a year.
“It is time to stop pretending that drinkers are a burden on taxpayers,” commented Christopher Snowdon, author of the report. “Drinkers are taxpayers and they pay billions of pounds more than they cost the NHS, police service and welfare system combined.
“The economic evidence is very clear on this. Forty per cent of the EU’s entire alcohol tax bill is paid by drinkers in Britain and, as this new research shows, teetotallers in England are being subsidised by drinkers to the tune of at least £6.5 billion a year.”
Breaking down the costs of alcohol consumption on public spending, the report highlighted that alcohol-related crime costs the Exchequer almost £1bn per year and added to other alcohol-fuelled crimes such as drink-driving, the total cost to the police and criminal justice system is £1.6bn.
Alcohol-related health problems cost £1.9bn a year, half of which stems from hospital admissions related to alcohol and Accident and Emergency attendances.
In addition, welfare payments to those who are unable to work as a result of mental or physical ill health due to alcohol consumption cost taxpayers £289m.