UK: Industry welcomes alcohol strategy review
The UK government has unveiled an updated alcohol strategy, which focuses on dealing with health problems associated to excess consumption.
The country's authorities said today (5 June) that the strategy - entitled 'Safe. Sensible. Social. The next steps in the National Alcohol Strategy' - will look at binge drinking, underage drinking and older people who drink regularly at home in England. Around GBP10m (US$19.9m) a year will be set aside for the campaign.
"There are people, adults, who on a very regular basis are probably drinking twice the amount that is recommended," said Health Minister Caroline Flint.
At the same time, an independent national review will look at the relationship between alcohol promotions and the harm alcohol causes.
Speaking to just-drinks today, Jeremy Beadles, chief executive at the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, broadly welcomed the review. "The strategy recognises the importance of individual responsibility," he said. "It also reflects the industry's efforts over the past three years.
"We are also pleased to see the backing given by the Government to informing consumers about alcohol levels."
Beadles warned, however, that interference on pricing and promotions should be kept to a minimum. "In a free market, politicians should not interfere on pricing issues," he said. "Promotions are a valid part of the retail business."
The head of The Portman Group, meanwhile, was more open to the proposal. "At the moment, the effect of such promotions is unknown," said David Poley. "This review should collect the evidence before we can determine if any new restrictions are necessary."
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