Monday, 31 October 2011

Prohibitive Thinking

It may be a truly horrendous cliché muttered by management types, but I have been attempting some 'blue sky thinking' and i have come up with a way to save us billions of pounds and thousands of lives. Surprisingly with those benefits, it might be a bit controversial.

This thing costs the overstretched NHS £2.7 billion annually and is implicated in 33,000 deaths a year in the UK. 3.2 % of all deaths worldwide

The British Crime Survey shows 53% of all violent acts are caused by this and 44% of acts of domestic violence

It is second only to tobacco as the major cause of premature death.

It kills 778 UK drivers annually (1 in 6 deaths on the road) and injures almost 20,000.

Crime related incidents directly from this costs police over £7bn a year.

It is attributable to 47% acts of criminal damage, 17% of muggings, 13% of sexual offences, 17% of burglaries and 12% of robbery's.

It costs the economy £1.8 billion annually in lost Working days.

It doesn't have any tangible benefits except raising approx £8 billion in revenue per year.

So with all this against it, why isn't alcohol banned? Apart from the drinks industry, who would lose out from a bout of prohibition? The £8 billion we lose from tax revenue would be dwarfed by the £2.7 billion savings to the NHS, £7 billion to the police and £1.8 billion to the economy lost through drink related absenteeism. That's a net saving of £3.5 billion not to mention the 33,000 lives saved.

The Government has long tried to restrict the ability of people to drink to excess by controlling the cost and availability of alcohol so why not just go the whole hog and slap a ban on it? If someone came up with the idea now it wouldn't make it past the planning stage so why persevere with something that costs so much socially and financially, something that if it was removed would not be missed and could only benefit society and the country's coffers?

1 comment:

Cheezy said...

"So with all this against it, why isn't alcohol banned?"

For two reasons I can think of: 1) Unpopularity - The public at large don't want it banned, and 2) Unworkability - Such a ban would be flaunted on a truly industrial scale.

The price society pays for alcohol consumption being so prevalent is terrible, as you say, but at the moment it's a price most of us are more than willing to pay.