BMA backs increases to cost of alcohol

Delegates threw support behind a rise in the cost of alcohol, but stopped short of demanding that all taxes from alcohol sales should be used for the care of alcohol-related illnesses.

Representatives at the BMA’s Annual Representatives Meeting (ARM) in Brighton on Tuesday voted in favour of the motion, which also called for the BMA and government to look at further measures to educate the public and promote ‘sensible and appropriate drinking’. 

Dr Leslie Murray, a member of the BMA’s Dunbartonshire division, said a rise in alcohol cost was likely to result in reduced consumption.

She said: ‘Alcohol is cheap, easily available, persuasively advertised and enjoyable. In the UK, and particularly in Scotland, excessive drinking has been shown to cause increased morbidity, mortality and social problems. 

‘The BMA and government must consider further measures to educate the public and encourage sensible drinking.’

But a strand of the motion calling for all taxes from alcohol sales to be used for the care and prevention of alcohol illnesses was lost.

Richard Buckley, of the Scottish Consultants Committee, said the profession ‘cannot tie the government’s hands’ on what money should be spent on.

He said: ‘Where do we stop with this? Should all tobacco tax be spent on chest medicine, and for that matter should all petrol tax be spent on the victims of road accidents?’

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