Alcohol and responsibility

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IT is encouraging that the number of incidents of serious violence on Britain’s streets does appear to be falling, even if the decline has still to permeate through to Yorkshire.

Yet, while concerns persist about the prevalence of alcohol-fuelled violence, and particularly at weekends, it is significant that young people are becoming more abstemious according to new research that has been published today.

This is welcome and helps to contradict the widely-held public perception that young people need to drink themselves to a semi-comatose state if their night out is to be classified as an enjoyable one.

Perhaps today’s younger generation, often portrayed as being irresponsible, is actually far more sensible than many believe and only too aware of the futility of drinking themselves to oblivion on a regular basis.

An alternative view, put forward by academics, is that beer, wine and spirits are becoming unaffordable after a succession of increases in alcohol duty coincided with people of all ages cutting their leisure spend to reflect the cost of living squeeze.

Either way, it does not escape the fact that untold misery is still being caused by those people of all ages who over-indulge, become paralytic and lose their self-control.

Not only does their violence lead to scores of innocent people losing their lives, or being badly injured, each year, but it is a major financial burden on the work of those emergency services – and hospitals – who are left to pick up the pieces.

Yet why should the Government’s taxation policy penalise the vast majority of people who drink responsibly?

Perhaps the time has come for Ministers to look at more effective ways of recouping money from the relatively small number of reckless individuals whose irresponsibility is proving to be so costly to society, and the reputation of the young.