The UK drinks industry has welcomed the Public Health Responsibility Deal

The UK drinks industry has welcomed the Public Health Responsibility Deal

The UK alcoholic drinks industry has come out in favour of the Government's Public Health Responsibility Deal, which has been announced today (15 March).

The deal, signatories of which include members of the voluntary sector, business, industry and the retail sector, will look to improve issues relating to food, alcohol, behavioural change, physical activity and health at work. Drinks producers and retailers have pledged to provide clearer unit labelling, support awareness campaigns and develop a new sponsorship code on responsible drinking.

The plan came under fire before it was released, however, when several key health groups yesterday attacked the proposals as being "half-hearted pledges with no teeth", drawn up by a Government "seemingly in thrall to business".

Speaking today, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley defended the deal: “We know that regulation is costly, can take years and is often only determined at an EU-wide level anyway,” he said. “That’s why we have to introduce new ways of achieving better results.

“The deals ... demonstrate the effectiveness of our radical partnership approach to deliver more and sooner.”

Alcoholic drinks producers and trade bodies in the UK have been lining up to praise the plan. SABMiller's UK subsidiary, Miller Brands, described it as “a significant initiative and represents a new approach from the Department of Health”, while Simon Litherland, Diageo Great Britain's MD, said it was “a good example of how we can be part of a collaborative approach to improve the long-term health of the public”.

The Wine & Spirits Trade Association's chief executive, Jeremy Beadles, said: "Today's announcement marks a positive step in a partnership process designed to ensure that consumers have the information they need to make informed choices.” The British Beer & Pubs Association's head, Brigid Simmonds, added: “Only by working together can we change the drinking culture in the UK.”

For full details of the Public Health Responsibility Deal, click here.