In its new Ambitious For Recovery report, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has recommended introducing a “small, ring-fenced treatment tax on every unit of alcohol from 2015” that can be used to pay for abstinence-based rehabilitation centres.
The body claims of the 260,000 alcoholics in the UK, only a “tiny minority” are receiving the high-quality treatment they need.
It has suggested the following levels of tax would be required:
- Half a pence on a unit between 2015 and 2017
- One pence on a unit between 2018 and 2020
- One and a half pence on a unit between 2021 and 2023
- Two pence on a unit from 2024 onwards
The tax would apply to off-trade sales only, excluding sales in pubs or restaurants, and would, at two pence on a unit, add around four pence to a pint, 18 pence to a bottle of wine, and 56 pence to a standard bottle of spirits.
It has estimated this would raise £155m a year between 2015 and 2017, £290m a year between 2018 and 2020, £410m between 2021 and 2023, and £520m a year from 2024 onwards.
There are currently approximately 125 residential rehabilitation centres in England, but CSJ said “many of them” are of “insufficient quality”.
It said the new levy could fund the creation and running of 350 new centres, with an average of 40 beds over a nine-year period.