Alcohol abuse is costing every person in Greater Manchester £436 each year according to a new report for the region’s combined authority.
It puts the total annual cost of dealing with the effects of excessive drinking at £1.2bn.
The report for the Greater Manchester Combined Authority says a region-wide alcohol strategy is needed to address the problems. It would involve a commitment from all ten councils – as well as the police and health services – to work together to tackle the causes and effects of alcohol abuse.
“Pulling together and implementing a comprehensive alcohol strategy across Greater Manchester presents a unique opportunity to direct our collective efforts to address the harm caused by alcohol, making best use of good practice that is taking place locally and the resources we have available.
“The strategy has been designed to do just that and will ensure that communities and partners work together in a coordinated, complementary way.” – Deputy Commissioner Jim Battle
The report sets out a number of recommendations to be included in a united alcohol strategy including:
- Ensuring licensing powers are more effective and used consistently
- Putting the right services in place to protect victims of domestic abuse
- Supporting public health activity to reduce the levels of drinking across the whole local population with a focus on education.
The proposed strategy will be put before local council leaders at the next meeting of the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities on Friday 29 August. If it is approved, it would be the first time in the UK such a large number of public bodies have united to launch an alcohol strategy.
Mike Connolly, Leader of Bury Council, said:
“The impact of alcohol abuse is everybody’s business. It impacts on the health and wellbeing of our residents, the safety of our communities and the future success of our town centres and their night-time economies. It’s essential we team up, roll up our sleeves to tackle this scourge on society together.
“It’s obviously not a problem just for Greater Manchester but the facts speak for themselves. Thirty eight per cent of violent incidents that result in an injury involve alcohol and one in three domestic incidents is alcohol related. Typically, people battling with alcohol die earlier, go to hospital more often and struggle to hold down regular work.
“Binge drinking also has a massive effect on our town centres, putting pressure on businesses and impacting on the safety of our residents. We must join forces to tackle this now.”
Assistant Chief Constable Garry Shewan of Greater Manchester Police said:
“Alcohol-related crime and disorder is a consistent challenge for the police and our partners in Greater Manchester. Our selection as one of the 20 Local Alcohol Action Areas helps us to highlight the challenges and difficulties we face, which enables us to design new solutions to an old but persistent problem.
“Greater Manchester has many areas which have a thriving nightlife but unfortunately long opening hours of pubs and clubs and the easy availability and cheap cost of buying alcohol from supermarkets has meant more people are getting excessively drunk and causing a nuisance and harm to themselves and others. This results in an increase in demands on the police, health services and local councils who are faced with managing both the risks to individuals and the damage that is caused to lives and our streets.
“I am confident that once a strategy is agreed it will ensure that measures are put in place which will have a long lasting impact on alcohol abuse in Greater Manchester and the problems caused by it.”
Jim Battle, deputy police commissioner for Greater Manchester added:
“Pulling together and implementing a comprehensive alcohol strategy across Greater Manchester presents a unique opportunity to direct our collective efforts to address the harm caused by alcohol, making best use of good practice that is taking place locally and the resources we have available. The strategy has been designed to do just that and will ensure that communities and partners work together in a coordinated, complementary way.”
This alcohol strategy is one of the ways the ten local authorities are working together to creating a truly great Greater Manchester, where everyone shares in this success (look out for #10WorkingAs1 on our social media sites). Please see the Greater Manchester Strategy, Stronger Together, for more information about our growth and reform priorities.
Image credit: Stop Alcohol Deaths on Flickr. Reproduced under Creative Commons Licence.