The Centre for Social Justice has recommended a new tax on alcohol. This new tax would increase prices by 2p per unit with the extra money being used to provide abstinence based treatment for alcohol and drug abuse.
The increased tax is just one of several measures proposed by the Centre for Social Justice. They have also recommended getting rid of the Frank website because they believe it does not send a strong anti-drug message, having job centres help identify addicts to offer treatment, require benefits claimants with an addiction to either seek help or risk their benefits and working to tackle legal highs. The new tax would also fund treatment centres for 58,000 addicts per year by 2024
All these programs would be funded by the estimated £155 million generated each year by the new tax increase.
Currently, the Department of Health provides around £5.4 billion to councils to fight addiction but this money can be used in different ways by different councils. The new plan would create a concerted effort with a larger focus.
When asked about the current state of treatment for alcohol and drug addiction, the CSJ director Christian Guy said that most addicts receive very little treatment and many are simply parked on methadone or other drug based solutions without any long term treatment. He added that getting treatment in the UK was often only available to people with money and the less fortunate cannot rely on the government for any help.
In response to the CSJ plan, a Department of Health spokesperson has said they will not be imposing new alcohol taxes. They will continue to focus on reducing the harm caused by alcohol by providing local counsels with money for drug and alcohol treatment.
The Department of Health believes this is the best option because it allows local governments to apply the funds where they are most needed.