Oxygen Finance

Council Spend on Addiction-Related Services Falls as Alcohol Deaths Rise

A recent article by the BBC highlighted how deaths caused by alcohol “hit a new high during the first nine months of 2020” – a time during which local authority spend on addiction-related services reached a new recorded low.

The BBC article stated that the 5460 alcohol-related deaths registered in England and Wales between January and September 2020 represented a 16% increase on the same months in 2019, with the toll being the biggest since records began in 2001.

Our public sector spend intelligence product, Insights Spend, has been adding up and categorising complete public sector spend data since the 2013/14 Financial Year, with the £184.92M spent by Councils in England on drug, alcohol and addiction services by the end of September 2020 not only representing a fall of almost 15% when compared to the same time in 2019, but also meaning that 2020/21 looks set to see the lowest level of local authority spend on these services since Insights Spend’s records began.

As demonstrated by the chart above, council spend in this market reached its peak in 2015/16 before proceeding to fall by an average of just over 5% during each of the next three financial years. Although 2019/20 did see spend increase by 5.38%, it seems that any revival that this might have signalled has been rendered short-lived by the events of 2020/21.

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