Teetotallers should raise a glass of sparkling water to Britain’s drinkers, who are subsidising the Treasury to the tune of £6.5bn a year according to a think tank.
Revenues from alcohol taxes amount to over £10bn, according to official figures crunched by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).
The contribution of drinkers to the state compares with costs of just under £4bn which are borne by the NHS and criminal justice and welfare systems. The figure is over seven per cent of the government’s budget deficit for the 12 months ending March 2015.
“It is time to stop pretending that drinkers are a burden on taxpayers. Drinkers are taxpayers and they pay billions of pounds more than they cost the NHS, police service and welfare system combined. The economic evidence is very clear on this,” said Chris Snowden, author of the research.
Snowden added that 40 per cent of the EU’s alcohol tax bill is paid by drinkers in Britain.
The government could halve all forms of alcohol duty and still receive more in tax than it spends dealing with alcohol-related problems, the IEA said. Beer is currently taxed at around 52p per pint of beer, £2.05 per bottle of wine, and £11.06 for a litre of spirit with 40 per cent alcohol volume.