Bury South MP Christian Wakeford renews calls for alcohol strategy after brother’s death

Bury South MP Christian Wakeford has renewed calls for a national alcohol strategy following the tragic death of his brother who suffered from addiction.

The Labor politician has been calling for such a plan in recent years, but has been disappointed with the government’s response.

Mr Wakeford’s older brother, Mark Jones, died when his car landed on the roof of the M65 in February 2015.

The 44-year-old father of two was an engineer who grew up in Fence, near Burnley.

Speaking to GB News about why he wants an alcohol strategy, Mr Wakeford said: “For me it was a personal tragedy that forced me to work on alcohol abuse as a little over seven years ago I was knocked on the door by the police to to tell me that my brother had died.

“It turned out that he suffered from an alcohol addiction. He’d been in the hospital trying to get over some of that.

“He died tragically in a car accident while over the limit.

“From my perspective, it was to make sure no one else goes through what me and my family did. It tore the heart out of the family.”

Mr Wakeford emphasized that when we talk about addiction, no one chooses to be addicted, but recent figures have shown an increase in alcohol-related deaths and illnesses.

He said the number of deaths from alcohol has increased by 20 percent in recent years, the number of deaths from mental illness due to alcohol has increased by 11 percent and the number of deaths from fatal alcohol poisoning has increased by 15 percent.

Mr Wakeford added: “What we are asking for is more information on alcohol labels so that people can be really informed about what they are consuming and ideally an amendment to the Equality Act so that there can be employment support for those who suffer from addiction. †

In response, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Social Care said: “Alcohol abuse can devastate lives and destroy families, and we are committed to supporting those most at risk. That’s why we have a 10-year strategy to stop drugs and alcohol-related harm.

“As part of this, we have provided £532 million in new funding over three years to rebuild drug and alcohol abuse treatment and recovery services in England, including funding to increase the availability of inpatient rehab beds.

“We established the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities to improve and address the long-standing health disparities in many areas, including those related to alcohol-related health harm.”

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