ALCOHOL is costing South Tyneside more than £60m each year, according to a new report.
Figures released today by Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, say drink costs the borough’s workplace and wider economy £26.86m annually, including 31,136 alcohol-related sick days, which equates to more than £3m.
There were also 645 potential working years of life lost to alcohol-related premature mortality – which works out at more than £16m.
The figures, which cover the 2011/12 period, say alcohol misuse cost the NHS £16.93m.
The report also says alcohol-related crime and licensing cost £12.87m. In this period there were an estimated 8,963 recorded alcohol-related crimes in the region.
A further £6.63m was spent on social services cases involving alcohol.
The total cost of £62.77m works out at £424 for every man, woman and child in the borough.
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 harms 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.”
Coun Fay Cunningham lead member for health and wellbeing, said: “We take the issue of the effect of alcohol use across South Tyneside very seriously.
“The council fully supports the introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol and is also working with partners to set out a range of actions in the South Tyneside Alcohol Strategy which aim to reduce the harm caused by alcohol.”