A Conservative victory in this year's UK General Election would prompt an overhaul of licensing, marketing and labelling laws for alcoholic drinks.

Licensing hours would be curbed and the current alcohol units system could be replaced with something that is easier to understand, according to the Conservative Party's manifesto on health policy, published today (13 January).

Curbs on marketing also appear likely. Today's report states: "Troublesome binge drinking is fuelled by irresponsible alcohol marketing."

It adds: "To help tackle binge drinking and all the social problems it causes we will introduce a ban on cheap alcohol being used as a loss leader in shops and supermarkets and tax problem drinks like alcopops and super-strength beers more heavily."  

The Consveratives are widely expected to win the General Election, which must be held before June, and have held at least a ten-point poll lead over the current Labour Government for the last year.

Drinks industry leaders have held meetings with Conservative Party members in preparation for a possible Conservative Government.

For now, the industry is attempting to keep an open mind on Conservative policy and trade associations have welcomed the party's opposition to a minimum price on drinks per alcohol unit.

"We welcome the Green Paper's emphasis on local partnership working," said the Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) today. "Our experience is that Community Alcohol Partnerships bringing together retailers, police and local authorities have a real impact in tackling alcohol misuse."

The WSTA added that it also favours Conservative emphasis on personal responsibility.