ALCOHOL costs the East Lancashire economy £273million a year, a new study has revealed.

The figures, released for the first time in a report, commissioned by North West Employers and Drink Wise North West, were put together to show the cost of alcohol to our society.

The survey revealed that the effects of alcohol cost more per person in Lancashire than any other region in the North West, with authorities in Blackburn and Darwen spending more than any other East Lancashire borough — £68million between 2010 and 2011 — on drink-related issues.

The cost of dealing with alcohol problems in Burnley set the local authority back almost £45million, with Chorley also forking out nearly £43million.

Hyndburn spent close to £37million with Pendle also spending £35million to tackle the problem.

The Ribble Valley spent the second lowest amount in the whole of the North West, £21million, after Eden, in Cumbria.

The survey was split into four categories to determine the impact of alcohol on the NHS, crime and licensing, the workforce and the wider economy and social services.

The NHS in East Lancashire spent £62.25million dealing with admissions linked to alcohol and the region’s police forces also paid out £83.76million dealing with the effects of alcohol-related crime and licensing.

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “Alcohol related incidents can range from minor public order and criminal damage offences through to serious assaults, domestic violence and even sexual assaults.

We would want to send a clear message that we are committed to tackling alcohol-related crime and disorder and by joining forces with partner agencies such as local authorities and the health service, we can help to keep people safe and try to prevent them from getting involved in crime or anti-social behaviour.”

Alcohol also cost the workforce £109million in days taken off work and time wasted because of hangovers.

Coun David Whipp, chair of Pendle Community Safety Partnership, said: “This is putting a heavy and unsustainable burden on our public services, as well as the economy.

"This money could be saved or better spent, and it is not just the pounds that add up. The misery caused by excessive drinking comes at a big cost to individuals and is a great social cost too.”