Colin Perriss, a regular contributor to Enterprise Britain, knows a lot about alcohol.
With the help of his wife Debbie and their children, he beat it. He has developed a remarkable understanding of the issues and runs a business consultancy which can include helping SME owners with drinking problems (and there are rather many of them).
It was therefore a surprise when this week, after I’d asked him how things are going, he said “very busy but mainly with personal business coaching. Nobody wants to stop drinking.”
Let’s look at the facts.
Professor David Nutt, the former UK Chief drugs adviser has said on record that
“Alcohol is more harmful than heroin or crack. It is the most dangerous drug to society.”
It is a popular form of ‘self medication’, available without a prescription, and is used in attempts to overcome depression, sadness, mood swings, desperation, loneliness, anxiety, loss of self esteem , job worries, marriage problems and so on.
Its benefits are temporary and are addictive because the body requires increasing amounts to achieve the same levels of temporary release.
The Government earns £14bn annually in revenues from alcohol. The cost to the NHS is estimated at £2.78bn. Two million people work in the industry. It is one of the UK’s largest export earners.
It is estimated that there are possibly up to 40,000 drink related deaths in the UK each year. My belief is that many doctors and health care professionals have alcohol related problems. The Friday and Saturday nights binge drinking amongst the young is ingrained in society.
Colin was in a thoughtful mood when we met: he told me that
“The majority of people used to believe that the world was flat. The majority of people now drink alcohol. I wonder if there is a link?”
As with many other social issues the Coalition has blown hot and cold on the subject.
This Christmas a great many SME owners will drink far too much. However the complete lack of help from Vince Cable and his Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, and New Year cash flow pressures, plus a visit from the VAT Inspector, will soon sober them up.
I’ll drink to that.