It’s your vote

Is the culture of binge-drinking affecting your neighbourhood or community?

A HARTLEPOOL councillor who heads up a booze task force has welcomed the Prime Minister’s declaration of war on cheap alcohol.

David Cameron spoke at length about the “scandal” of public drunkenness and alcohol abuse that costs the NHS £2.7bn a year during a visit to the region yesterday.

It comes as the North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, which runs hospitals in Hartlepool and Stockton, said that in 25 per cent of emergency medical admissions, alcohol is the primary cause or is a factor.

The Prime Minister insisted that bars, supermarkets and the drinks industry must help ensure responsible drinking becomes more than “just a slogan”.

He also made clear the Government wants to introduce a minimum price for alcohol and put higher taxes on strong lagers.

Labour councillor Jonathan Brash, chairman of Hartlepool’s Alcohol Strategy Group has backed the stance

Coun Brash said the issue was so serious that it goes beyond party politics.

He said: “The devastating effects of alcohol abuse can be seen in every community of Hartlepool, whether it’s the all too common violence in our town centre, the anti-social behaviour in our local neighbourhoods or the millions of pounds of tax payers money being spent by our NHS, police, council and other services we all suffer in some way from irresponsible drinking.

Today we ask: Is the culture of binge-drinking affecting your neighbourhood or community?