Unless you've been hiding under a rock for the past week, you're likely already more than aware that last Wednesday saw Chancellor George Osbourne deliver his first budget of 2016 and the eighth budget of his tenure. It was a pretty eventful budget too, leading to Jamie Oliver dancing outside Westminster, Ian Duncan Smith resigning over disability welfare cuts and a whole lot in-between.
George Osborne called this a budget for the future generations and as a member of one of those generations, I largely felt it was. From the sugar levy, that's definitely a start in protecting the health of our children to the government's new "lifetime ISA", which will definitely go some way in helping myself one day own a home of my own.
However, for all the good it did, the budget again failed to deal with the UK's binge drinking problem, especially amongst young people.
Whilst George Osborne's decision to again freeze beer and cider duty, along with a range of other drinks may be a fantastic way for our party to appeal to the working class, and don't get me wrong, that's something it definitely needs to do, it only fuels the problem that the United Kingdom has with binge drinking. In all honesty, it's a reckless decision on George Osborne's part, a bid to score some political points with the electorate at the sake of the health of young people.
Anyone who's been on a night out in one of our country's largest cities will know exactly of the carnage I'm talking about here. Students in particular will happily drink themselves into a stupid state just about any night of the week. It puts a strain on our health service and is in fact a mark on Britain's culture. You only have to look at the perspective of an international student visiting the UK to realise that our country has a serious drinking problem.
It's a problem that affects students more than anyone else. As aforementioned, many students at universities across the country are happy to go out and drink themselves silly any night of the week and given the effects of a bad hangover, binge drinking amongst students is seriously damaging academic performance. With tuition fees now higher than ever, it's difficult to understand why many students are happy to throw it all away for the sake of a night out, but it's happening more and more.
Whether it's amongst students or anybody else for that matter, binge drinking is largely becoming the norm in the UK and that's a real problem. It's one that I'd hoped George Osborne would tackle in his latest budget, but alas.
To be fair to George Osborne, he has announced plans to raise duty at the rate of inflation on other alcoholic drinks. However, it's the cheap drinks that George Osborne is keeping cheap and that's a real problem. The UK's binge drinking problem is no longer about having fun, it's become a serious issue that's affecting both the health and academic performance of our young people.
For now though, I'm holding out hope that George Osborne's next budget will finally tackle the UK's binge drinking problem, even if that is at the cost of the Conservative party losing some appeal amongst the working class.