The BMA is pleased that one of the recommendations in its recent report on alcohol misuse, to increase taxation on alcohol, has been adopted by the Chancellor of Exchequer, Alistair Darling, in the budget.
Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the BMA's Head of Science and Ethics, said: "It is very important that tax increases on alcohol are part of a larger plan to reduce problem drinking." She added:
"The evidence tells us that the cheaper and more accessible alcohol is the more people will drink. The government needs to tackle this issue so it's good news that ministers have made a start today. These tax increases may be unpopular with some members of the public but we hope that they will look at the wider issue and recognise that the UK has a real problem on its hands regarding alcohol misuse. Tough action is needed. The UK is one of the heaviest alcohol consuming countries in Europe.
"Drinking in moderation is enjoyable and may be good for you. Drinking way over the recommended guidelines costs many people their health and ultimately their lives. The UK spends millions of pounds every year on treating people with alcohol problems and dealing with the crime and violence often associated with alcohol misuse."