Under the heading "Hospital alcohol admissions soar" comes this factoid: Alcohol was the main or secondary cause of 207,800 NHS admissions in 2006/7, compared to 93,500 in 1995/96.
Let's crunch those numbers:
1. Total NHS admissions approx. 10 million per annum.
2. Total spending on NHS in 2006-07 = £82 billion.
3. £82 billion ÷ 10 million x 207,800 = £1.7 billion* (assuming that average cost of an 'alcohol related admission' is the same as the average cost of all admissions)
4. Total alcohol duties collected in 2006-07 = £8 billion (from Tab C4), plus 50% for VAT = £12 billion.
So I think this is the usual BBC-Nulab alliance softening us up for yet more bansturbation. Wouldn't a more appropriate headline have been something like "Nulab drives nation to drink"?
* The Institute of Alcohol Studies reported that the cost was £1.7 bn back in 2004 (see page 8 of this), so this looks about right. Yes, there is such an Institute! All I can say is, I have been studying the effects of alcohol very closely for over a quarter of a century, and I am still none the wiser, heck knows what sort of breakthrough they're hoping for.
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