VAT on alcohol to increase to diminish binge drinking habits Photo: Emily Barker

On the 28 September, a fresher from the University of Sussex fell 20ft from a roof “because he was drunk”.

The student was unharmed after his fall and hoisted back to the roof top by fire crews.  He was then checked by paramedics.
Sam Dagger, a student at The University of Brighton, witnessed the student walking on the roof.

Mr Dagger said that he had called to the man, but was unable to do anything as he fell and smashed through netting preventing birds from becoming trapped.

He said: “When I saw him fall I thought he was gone. I ran out and asked if he had hurt himself and he said he was fine.”

The student had climbed over protective railings after ascending a fire escape staircase, where he then plummeted from the roof onto air conditioning units.

The man was believed to have been able to walk away unharmed due to the amount of alcohol in his system, which relaxed him sufficiently to come out unscathed.

A Preston Circus fire brigade spokesman said: “The fact he was so drunk [helped].  As he was so under the influence it would have been relaxing when he fell.”

A Sussex Police spokeswoman said that the student was “given advice and sent on his way.”

These events occurred during the University of Sussex Fresher’s Week, which is the start to life for most of its students, with many clubs and bars hosting special events.

Alcohol is in high demand at this time of year as many students vow to enjoy themselves before classes begin. 
Selling alcohol in town is an essential way of making money for many licensed businesses and helps the tourist trade in the area, and therefore alcohol is sold cheaply and binge drinking is a primary concern.

Brighton City Council officials Lizzie Deane, John Barradell and Dr Tom Scanlon have sent a letter to Home Secretary

Theresa May, calling for an increase in VAT rates on sales of alcohol in an off-licence environment.
Councillor Lizzie Deane said: “A lot of work is going on in Brighton & Hove to enforce licensing regulations and deal with concerns about alcohol, but we cannot control prices from supermarkets and shops which lead people to ‘pre-load’ on cheap alcohol before they go out for the night.

“This is a national issue – it is by no means unique to Brighton and Hove.”

Student opinion remains mixed. It is not yet known whether students will be deterred by higher prices or incidents such as the University of Sussex fresher fall.

Nathan Weston, an 18-year-old student at the University of Sussex, believes that “students will still end up buying alcohol,” and that the prices “won’t make a great difference”.

However, Rosie Wells, another Sussex student, admits that she will be deterred if she “can’t afford it”.

Milly Ingrouille says that fellow “students behave differently to alcohol” and that you can’t “generalise everyone’s drunken behaviour because of the behaviour of one person”.

Statistics website states: “Accidents and falls are common because being drunk affects your balance and co-ordination”.

It also claims that “binge drinking is most common among 16–24-year-olds”.

Further measures are being taken by Brighton and Hove City Council to reduce antisocial behaviour related to alcohol, including more police patrols and all-night bus services.

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