Comment - Alcohol policy in the UK
Last week's report on alcohol by a committee of MPs in the UK has proved more political bluster than a call to arms.
Drinks producers and supermarkets are too close to the Government, which persistently ignores evidence that a minimum price on drinks of GBP0.5 per unit could save thousands of lives per year, the House of Commons Health Select Committee reported late last week.
MPs on the Committee, representing all main political parties, were damning in both their analysis and their rhetoric on the Government's failure to address the UK's drink problem.
Yet, the story failed to take off. Limited coverage was afforded by the mainstream media, barely any of which survived longer than the 24-hour news cycle.
The largest two political parties, Conservatives and Labour, continue to resist calls for minimum pricing, including from the chief medical officer.
That is not to say there will be no tough measures once a new Government is formed after this year's General Election in the country.
The Conservative Green Paper on health policy, published today (13 January), puts a stronger emphasis on personal responsibility but does not shy away from tough words.
A Conservative Government would ban below cost selling, restrict licensing hours and enforce new labelling rules for drinks.
There is broad political consensus in the UK for more regulation to curb problem drinking. Industry needs to decide where to draw its red lines.
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