Alcohol abuse in Britain’s boardrooms

Today in the House of Lords, peers will be debating how we should reduce the harm caused by alcohol. 

The picture of alcohol harm in this country is stark; the death toll from alcohol misuse is the equivalent of a passenger filled jumbo jet crashing every 17 days.

And booze is trickling its way into British boardrooms, too. 

Lost productivity and absenteeism because of alcohol costs the economy up to £6.4bn each year. Around ten million men and women in England drink above the recommended guidelines. Every day, around 200,000 people go to work in the UK with a hangover.

The charity Alcohol Concern has written to Business Secretary Vince Cable calling for a specific policy in the corporate governance code to address alcoholism in the workplace. 

“Boards should have a formal responsibility to address financial losses incurred through their reduced performance caused by alcohol,” writes the charity’s CEO Eric Appleby. 

“We have been publicly campaigning for a minimum price for alcohol of 50 per unit. This is vitally important but will not suffice alone, the alcohol strategy must be thorough and alcohol in the workplace should also be addressed.”

Research carried out by BreathScan shows that only 20 per cent of FTSE 250 companies currently have alcohol policies in place.

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