Alcohol abuse costs Hartlepool a staggering £39.8million in just 12 months

Alcohol abuse costing millions.
Alcohol abuse costing millions.

Alcohol abuse in Hartlepool cost the town a staggering £39.8million last year.

New figures released by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, estimated public services and employers were left to foot the bill between 2015/16.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones.

These figures equate to £430 for every man, woman and child in Hartlepool.

Costs are estimated at £7.4million in NHS and healthcare, £13.6million in crime and disorder including 2,600 cases of criminal damage, 9,200 cases of theft and 1,000 cases of violence, £12.8million lost to businesses, including 17,700 days off due to alcohol, and £6million in costs to children and adults’ social services and substance misuse services.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, interim director of public health for Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “It is very clear from this report just how hard the harmful effects of alcohol are hitting every aspect of life in Hartlepool.

“Just think what a difference we would see if we could halve the impact of alcohol, currently £430 a year for every man, woman and child, how much more quickly you could be seen in A&E or visit your GP, how much more visible the local police could be, how much more support social services could give to older people and how many more jobs employers might be able to generate?

It is very clear from this report just how hard the harmful effects of alcohol are hitting every aspect of life in Hartlepool.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones

“Most importantly though, how much better would you feel if you halved your alcohol intake, how much better your health would be and how much more money you would have in your pocket for those things that you can’t afford at the moment for you and your family?”

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, said: “It’s concerning to hear that alcohol cost the North East £331million in crime and disorder in 2015/16, particularly at a time when police resources are continuing to struggle against cuts from central government.

“Action must be taken to ease this pressure on emergency services, while prioritising the health of the public.

“That’s why I fully endorse the use of minimum unit pricing and I recently joined Balance in lobbying the government to introduce a tougher levy on cheap white ciders.

Colin Shevills of Balance.

Colin Shevills of Balance.

“By appropriately pricing the most harmful alcohol, there is a good chance vulnerable drinkers will be forced to reduce consumption, which is a benefit not only to themselves, but to public services.”

Colin Shevills, director at Balance, said: “All of us are paying dearly for alcohol misuse, whether people drink or not. High alcohol consumption wrecks families, impacts on workplaces and is a drain on the NHS and police at a time when they are coping with huge budget pressures.

“Meanwhile alcohol is promoted around the clock on TV, billboards and social media, and sold too cheaply through cut price deals in supermarkets and convenience stores, especially in poorer areas where people suffer the worst ill health.

“What is needed now is action at national level to put health and public services above the interests of major alcohol corporations.”