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Britain’s boozers fuel UK economy as alcohol tax revenues top £10bn

It's time to raise a glass to the nation's drinkers, as alcohol tax revenues are generating £10bn for the economy, according to the Institute of Economic Affairs.
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The UK’s boozers have a bad reputation, particularly as the Brits abroad mentality has seen shameful behaviour – nudity, fights and questionable body art – caught on camera for the world to see.

However, it turns out the Brits partaking in the consumption of alcohol in England may actually be the unsung heroes of the country’s economic recovery.

According to the Institute of Economic Affairs, the revenue generated from alcohol taxes are worth over £10bn. That’s more than the direct costs of dealing with alcohol use through the NHS, police and welfare, which amount to less than £4bn each year.

This means that some £6.5bn is being provided to the state as a result of drinking alcohol, and the study said that halving alcohol tax would still generate more tax money than it would spend dealing with alcohol-related health and crime issues.

Read more on the drinks sector:

Lord Karan Bilimoria, the founder of Cobra Beer, is one of the booze-making entrepreneurs looking to change the fortunes of Britain’s businesses and, in effect, the economy.

The beverage maker has discovered that the UK’s curry houses are closing down on a weekly basis, thus Bilimoria is championing more support for the independent chefs and entrepreneurs looking to keep their restaurants afloat.

“The curry restaurant industry still relies heavily on staff from abroad, just as UK industries as a whole benefit from the hard work of talented people from overseas,” he said.

“However, through damaging immigration policy, the government is shackling and handicapping the ethnic restaurant industry and, in this way, making the whole nation appear ungrateful.”

The IEA study found that alcohol-related crimes, such as drink driving, cost £1.6bn annually. Meanwhile, health problems caused by drinking, like A&E admissions, amount to £1.9bn a year and welfare paid to those unable to work because of alcohol abuse cost £289m.

Despite this, the company noted that alcohol use is often depicted as costing the UK £20bn annually – health campaigners were highlighted as culprits – which is clearly inaccurate.

Christopher Snowdon, report author, said: “It is time to stop pretending that drinkers are a burden on taxpayers. 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 six and a half billion pounds a year.”

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About Author

Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the former deputy editor of Real Business. His areas of interest included media, innovation, technology and the digital sector.

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