Proposed British Alcohol Tax To Help Fund Treatment Programs
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The BBC recently reported on a think tank’s recommendation that a new alcohol tax be installed to help fund abstinence-based treatment programs to address the growing problem of alcohol abuse.
The Centre for Social Justice proposed a ring-fenced "treatment tax" that would raise the cost of alcohol bought in shops by 2p per unit by 2024. The think tank estimated the new tax would raise £155m a year from 2015, and will increase to about £520m a year from 2024. The CSJ explained how, “Our report lays out a program for whoever next enters government, to tackle addiction and reduce its costs to society.”
The tax is one of a number of measures recommended by the think tank to tackle the problem of alcoholism and addiction in England. The CSJ made similar proposals in 2007, when the current Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith was in charge of the group, but that particular effort failed. Given the financial drain caused by the rising costs of addiction and alcoholism, the new CSJ director, Christian Guy, hopes these latest recommendations will receive a better response.
"At the moment we do very little for alcoholics, and for drug addicts we just dump them on methadone," Guy Christian Guy told BBC Breakfast. "The chance to get clean in this country is the preserve of the wealthy. For the poor, for the people relying on a public system, there's very little choice to get clean."
Although the British Department of Health believes the current public health budget is enough to address the problem at hand, the CSJ strongly disagrees. They want the government to fund treatment centers for 58,000 addicts per year by 2024. With 300,000 people in England addicted to opiates and crack, 1.6 million dependent on alcohol, and one in seven children under the age of one living with a substance-abusing parent, the group believes the problem is spiraling out of control.