NEW figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) have shown that the amount of alcohol related deaths in Blackburn with Darwen has fallen.

The 24 per cent fall represents 91 deaths between 2004/6 and 69 between 2010/12.

During this time, alcohol related deaths in the North West had increased overall and the region as a whole has the highest rate of alcohol-related deaths in the UK.

The stats come as a new alcohol strategy for Blackburn with Darwen is being finalised to try to tackle the local harms caused by alcohol misuse.

The strategy has been developed in conjunction with Blackburn with Darwen Council, the Clinical Commissioning Group, emergency services and voluntary community and faith sector providers.

It is due to go to Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Executive Board on April 10.

Coun Brian Taylor, lead member for health and adult social care, said: “I’m pleased to see this decrease but even so, I believe the Government's complacency is still costing us 69 lives a year and costing each citizen £486 per year from violent crime, anti-social behaviour and ill health.

“It is now obvious and undeniable that the drinks industry has turned the Government away from doing the right thing. It has fallen to local authorities to show what needs to be done. As a council we are looking to act in concert with other adjacent authorities to bring in the minimum unit price for alcohol.”