University of Stirling experts react to UK Budget

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Experts from the University of Stirling have reacted to today’s Budget announcement by the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond.

David Bell, Professor of Economics, said: “Philip Hammond has given quite a lot away this Budget to try to enhance the Government’s popularity. He’s not increasing fuel duties, he’s spending a lot of money on housing, there’s quite a bit of extra money for technology, and he’s not been quite so draconian on universal credit.

Professor David Bell

David Bell, Professor of Economics.

“All of this money is being given away so that the deficit next year is going to look quite a bit worse than had been forecast just a year ago. But I think we’re probably going to end up paying more in the long term.”

Linda Bauld, Professor of Health Policy, said: “The Chancellor’s decision to increase the duty on high strength cider is good news. High strength ciders commonly contain 7.5 per cent alcohol by volume and are available in large bottles with up to 22 units (equivalent to a bottle of vodka) for as little as £3.50.

“This product is consumed by heavy drinkers and young people and directly contributes to alcohol-related disease and death, violence and accidents. Increasing the duty will reduce harm, although a future even stronger measure would be for the UK to follow Scotland in introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol.

“It is also very positive that this budget has reinstated the tobacco tax escalator. Smoking is still the leading preventable cause of death in the UK, and despite recent drops in prevalence, up to one third of adults still smoke in our poorest communities. Higher prices do deter smoking, and today’s announcements will help us continue to move towards a tobacco free future.”

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