Pubs ‘not to blame’ for resort booze epidemic

Baroness Helen Newlove
Baroness Helen Newlove
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A LANDLORD has claimed pubs are not to blame for Blackpool’s booze-fuelled burden on the NHS.

The Gazette revealed on Saturday that more than 30,000 people in the resort were admitted to hospital due to drink last year – a shocking statistic which is draining £100m from NHS Blackpool every year.

But Dave Daley, landlord at The Castle pub, in Central Drive, claims it is the “stay at home drinkers” who are creating the problems.

Mr Daley, who has 35 years experience as a landlord, believes people need to be back in the pubs where they can be “monitored” if the number of alcohol-related health problems is going to fall.

He said: “In real terms there’s a lot of money which goes back into the town (from pubs) in employment, taxation and rates which is well over £100m.

“Alcohol is the lifeblood of Blackpool as a resort and I can’t emphasise it enough, it’s oil for the engine.

“People have been coming here for 100 years and they’ve been drinking excessively, but it’s the stay at home drinkers who are costing the NHS and we need people back in the pubs where they can be monitored.

“You can blame the brewing industry but you can’t blame the pub industry.”

The estimated £100.13m bill was based on research by North West Employers and Drink Wise North West, which took into account NHS, crime and licensing and social services costs between May 2011 and May 2012.

New statistics have also been published by the charity Alcohol Concern which show there were 31,523 admissions to hospital for alcohol-related illnesses in Blackpool between 2010 and 2011.

Around £1.8m was spent covering more than 16,000 booze-related accident and emergency admissions, £7.4m on the 4,943 people admitted to hospital as in-patients and a further £2m for the 10,545 who had to be treated for issues as out-patients.

Blackpool Council is currently running a number of campaigns to encourage people to avoid alcohol, but Baroness Helen Newlove – who visited the resort on Friday – believes residents need to put more pressure on the council to tackle the problem.

The House of Lords member, who was in the town to talk to students at Blackpool Sixth Form College about her work, first rose to prominence after her husband Garry Newlove was murdered in 2007 by three youths in a drink and drug-fuelled attack.

And she told the Gazette she was not surprised by the £100m cost of alcohol in Blackpool.

Baroness Newlove said: “There has to be a focus on education and communities looking at what they can do.

“If I lived here I’d be tackling my council and also seeing what I could do to help areas, look at schemes to make the town centre safer.

“I’d be thinking what can I do to make young people safe.”

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