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Cool reception to 'clean-up' levy

Published 11th February, 2010 by Neil Nixon

Cool reception to 'clean-up' levy

Measures to combat the impact of alcohol on communities have been unveiled by both Labour and the Conservatives as the two main parties target excessive drinking to help fund the additional cost of policing and cleaning up after nights out.

The Conservatives have promised extra taxes on late night opening and high-alcohol drinks, as well as a ban on selling drinks under cost price. Their plans come just weeks after it emerged that the Government is planning to introduce minimum prices for alcohol to help meet the costs of drinking on society.

Steve Wright, chairman of the British Cleaning Council, said: “While we support any measures that will improve our public spaces, we would rather see investment in educating people on the importance of proper waste disposal and recycling, rather than simply promising them that we will clean up in their wake. There is no excuse for dropping litter, no matter how much a person has spent on alcohol, and we believe that a society that values its environment would be the best outcome from any new legislative measures.”

Meanwhile, public attitudes towards the drinking culture have taken a negative turn, with one in four people stating in an Ipsos Mori poll that they avoided parts of their local area because of alcohol-related disorder. Alcohol-related problems are estimated to cost the UK up to £13 billion a year.

Dickie Felton of Keep Britain Tidy said: “Fast food and confectionary litter not only looks appalling it costs the taxpayer millions of pounds each year to clean-up. We believe that companies should be taking more responsibility over what happens to that burger box or pasty wrapper once it leaves their premises. But we are not convinced that a ‘clean-up’ levy is the right way to achieve cleaner streets. We very much believe in prevention rather than cure. We want all companies involved in the selling of cigarettes, drinks and confectionary to be doing more to encourage their customers to do the right thing and use a bin.”