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County councillors call for increased focus on irresponsible drinkers

Glasses of beer. Pic: Mark H Anbinder

Glasses of beer. Pic: Mark H Anbinder

Two county councillors have called for an increased focus on irresponsible drinkers – but have stopped short of demanding new laws to tackle the problem.

Cllr Matthew Ellis (Cons, Lichfield Rural East) and Cllr Ben Adams (Cons, Tamworth – Perrycroft) made their comments at a meeting of Staffordshire County Council this week.

And although Cllr Adams – the Cabinet Member for Communities and Culture – told his colleagues that the damage caused by “irresponsible drinking” needed to be a key priority, he added that the County Council would not be seeking any law changes because of the potential damage they could cause to the county’s brewing industry.

Cllr Adams explained:

“Staffordshire County Council must play a leading role in coordinating the fight to reduce the harmful effects of irresponsible drinking. This has a significant impact on health, communities, the use of public money and the local economy. We need to do this in partnership with other public organisations, bringing together our resources and expertise for the maximum impact.

“The damaging effects on our society are wide ranging and that’s why it needs a combined approach. Education, enforcement and protecting people are all essential. This issue affects all ages and so it’s vital that this strategy is effective. However it’s important to stress that we’re talking about alcohol when it becomes a problem. The vast majority of people who drink do so responsibly and we will continue to work with the drinks industry to ensure this continues.”

His views were echoed by the Cabinet Member for Adults and Wellbeing.

Cllr Matthew Ellis (Cons, Lichfield Rural East) said:

“The damage caused by alcohol to society is enormous. Accident departments in hospitals are under immense pressure with people suffering from alcohol related injuries every weekend. There is also the long-term damage to health caused by drinking to excess. There is a cost to this excessive drinking – it is picked up by the taxpayer but also the drinkers and their families who will suffer in the long-run.

“We don’t need a new raft of government legislation to tackle binge drinking, nor do we want to be killjoys. We need the laws we have to be enforced properly, and all authorities to show a joint determination to do this. We have to ensure partners allocate resources to tackle this growing problem.”

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.

1 Comment

  1. Foxy

    23rd March, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    http://www.statistics.gov.uk/CCI/nugget.asp?ID=1091
    Above is the national statistics online – quote…
    “The number of alcohol-related deaths in the United Kingdom has consistently increased since the early 1990s”
    Work out the reason why and perhaps a solution could be found. 
    I have a few suggestions.. 
    Drinks have gotten stronger in recent years – Early 1990s, lager was typically 3.2% alcohol, nowadays its generally approaching 5%.
    Supermarket chains are “competing” with rock bottom prices. Unfortunately they may be killing their best customers.
    Alco pops? The high sugar content means you can drink more without getting sluggish – perhaps having enough energy for a fight at the end of the evening. Alco pops make for an easier transition to drinking rather than the old fashioned way of 3 pints of lager making you sick.