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Barking MP Margaret Hodge: Government needs to apply higher taxes to cheap alcohol

PUBLISHED: 10:03 17 March 2017 | UPDATED: 10:26 17 March 2017

Margaret Hodge is the Labour MP for Barking

Margaret Hodge is the Labour MP for Barking

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Last week the Chancellor unveiled his new budget, which once again offered nothing but disappointment to residents here in the Borough.

Ahead of the budget I put pressure on the Chancellor to look into the sale of harmful super strength alcohol which is having a real effect on the area.

My postbag is full of residents’ concerns about the rise of people drinking in the streets outside Barking station and contributing to the increase of anti-social behaviour.

From my conversations with the police and the council it is obvious that there is a clear link between this and the sale of super strength alcohol.

Some of the off licences near the station sell three-litre bottles of this stuff, which contains the same amount of alcohol as 22 shots of vodka and is sold for just £3.50, an irresponsibly low price.

But this isn’t just about our safety it’s also about our health. I was shocked to read recently that Barking & Dagenham have higher rates of liver damage than the rest of the country.

To tackle this problem head on and improve the wellbeing of residents the government needs to introduce higher taxes on the cheapest alcohol.

Unfortunately, the chancellor decided not to take immediate action but only committed to carrying out a consultation on introducing a new duty band for high-strength ciders.

The safety and health of residents in this borough is one of my top concerns. I will continue to do all I can to put pressure on this government to increase the duty on super strength alcohol.

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