£20m booze bill for Wee County
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The site of the new Sauchie licenced store.
Labour MSP, Dr Richard Simpson.
THE harmful effects of alcohol abuse is costing the Wee County almost £20 million every year.
Almost half of is due to crime - £7.91 million - while hungover employees, "sickies" and unemployment is costing Clackmannanshire an estimated £6.23 million.
The total figure for 2010/11 was £19.55 million which equates to £386 per head of population.
It was revealed in research published by national charity, Alcohol Focus Scotland.
The alcohol charity said the breakdown aimed to provide evidence for licensing boards to restrict the availability of alcohol in their areas.
However in the same week the Clackmannanshire Licensing Board approved a ninth off-sales premises in Sauchie.
The village already has the highest concentration of off-sales in the whole of the county - 1 for every 655 residents.
The research was conducted using the same methods as a Scottish Government study from 2010 which reported the overall cost of alcohol misuse across the Scottish Nation was £3.6 billion a year.
It is estimated that alcohol misuse costs the health service in Clackmannanshire £2.45 million.
The highest single health cost is related to hospital admissions - £343,947 to general hospital and £354,770 to the psychiatric unit.
Crime figures include drink driving and where alcohol is recognised as a factor such as breach of the peace and violence.
MSP for Clackmannanshire and Dunblane, Keith Brown said the Scottish Government's plans for minimum pricing would help but was not a "standalone solution".
He said, "Reverting to traditional behaviours of social drinking in the local pub with friends, neighbours and colleagues offers a more sustainable prospect. Supporting your local pub is about community, peer networks and local business creating employment. This contrasts with discount off sales of vodka or white cider consumed at home, which is about creating and maintaining alcohol dependency in our people.
"We need to be alive to the scale of the threat and act now to modify our perceptions of what is, and what is no longer, acceptable in our relationships with alcohol."
Labour MSP, Dr Richard Simpson, was a former consultant psychiatrist in addictions working with alcohol problem users.
The shadow Public Health Minister said, "The general rise in alcohol pricing through duty and VAT is having an effect. Alcohol consumption dropped by four per cent in the last year. However it is disappointing that the discount for volume ban on offers like three for two has not produced the reduction predicted by the Sheffield Econometric model. Scotland only exceeded England's reduction by 1 per cent not the 3.8 per cent expected.
"Minimum Unit Price (MUP) will only affect the less well off. A British medical Journal poll of Doctors showed that two thirds agreed with the Institute of Fiscal Studies and the Office of Fair Trading that MUP would have little effect."
On Thursday the licensing board approved a ninth off-sales in Sauchie.
The village already has the highest concentration of off-sales premises in the whole of the county - 1 for every 655 residents.
The concentration is almost 30 per cent higher than the ratio of 1:1040 in similar-sized Alva.
Licensing Standards Officer Paul Fair told the board approving the licence might exacerbate the health problems in the village, "Increasing the number of alcohol retailers in an area is also likely to increase the commercial competition and this may result in an unnatural lowering of the price at which alcohol is sold in the locality."
In spite of these statistics, board members stuck to its 2009 policy stating "there are no localities where over provision exists or is close to existing".
Seconding the approval, councillor Kenny Earle said he did so as there were no formal objections from the NHS and police meaning the board had "no choice" but to grant the licence.
This article appeared in Alloa & Hillfoots Advertiser 19 Sep 12
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Sep 20, 10:07
its about time there were less places to buy alcohol and Buckfast should be BANNED as should the cider drinks that are appealyng and affordable for the younger drinkers the wee county needs to become more family friendly and EVERYONE who makes a pest of themselves with alcohol in their system should be dealt with severly. It shouldn't matter if its people walking the street drinking, drinking in their own home, or drinking in pubs and clubs if you make a pest of yourself you should be in fear of the law, not laughing at the officer who com and tell them to take it inside their own premises or the pub or club. How many people have distrubed nites sleep with their neighbours drunkenly shouting and arguing in their street.
Alcohol is suppose to be social event, and should lead to fun and laughter not the screaming battles that is all too common in clackmannanshire.
Recommend? Yes 9 No 0
Sep 23, 11:24
The licensing officer says "Increasing the number of alcohol retailers in an area is also likely to increase the commercial competition and this may result in an unnatural lowering of the price at which alcohol is sold in the locality." Is this guy for real?? What precisely is an 'unnatural' lowering of price? Any lowering of ANY price is due to healthy competition surely? We all know alcohol poses significant health threats, but by preventing healthy competition between competitors is akin to Stalin-esque tactics to control the minions. If alcohol is a burden on any service, then maybe the answer lies in making people pay for such services if they over-indulge?
Mr Fair, there is no such thing as an unnatural lowering of price in a consumer driven market ... get real!!!
Recommend? Yes 3 No 0
Sep 26, 22:55
They want to encourage outdoor drinking at The Inn in Paris, sorry that should be Tullibody. Responsible drinking is taught, normally at home, in the early teens when most children have their first experience of alcohol. The problem is when alcohol is glorified in commercials and amongst peers. In the Wee County a man is measured by the amount of alcohol he can consume. It doesn't matter that he then goes home in a drunken stupor to beat up the wife and kids.
Alcohol drinking in Clackmannanshire is a problem. This is sustantiated by the figures.
There is very little 'social' drinking there. They can't stop after one beer, it has to be a few.
The number of underage teenagers on the streets swigging from bottles of Buckfast and alcoholic cider is on the rise.
The Wee County must get it's house in order. It must recognise the issues and work towards a solution. Permitting a new off-license is a mistake.
Nine off-licenses in Sauchie is a joke.
I know they do not force the stuff down any ones throats but this is not the way toward a solution.
Recommend? Yes 1 No 1
Sep 27, 13:25
Apr 19, 19:13
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