Alcohol is costing the North East around £1.1bn each year and resulting in almost half a million alcohol-related sick days each year in the region, new figures show.
Research by the regional alcohol lobbying group Balance has brought together the cost of alcohol to the workplace (£440m), the NHS (£264m), alcohol-related crime (£296m) and money spent by social services (£97m).
Colin Shevills, director at Balance, said: “We’ve seen a noticeable increase in the cost to the workplace and the wider economy, and this is in addition to the millions of pounds that continue to burden our health service, our police forces and our communities. Alcohol truly is affecting every aspect of our society. This can’t continue.
“Cheap alcohol that is too available and too heavily promoted is a fundamental factor in the damage we see and more needs to be done to reduce the alcohol harm that the region is forced to deal with on a daily basis.
“The region’s three police forces, the health community, publicans and the majority of the public here in the North East support a minimum unit price for alcohol.
“A minimum unit price will save thousands of lives, reduce hospital admissions, drastically cutting crime and save hundreds of thousands of working days lost through absenteeism.
“As the evidence base continues to grow, we need Government to put it back on the agenda to form part of a package of measures which will tackle alcohol on a national, regional and local level.”
On a national scale, alcohol misuse costs society £21.3bn a year.