Publishing its views on the Government’s strategy to tackle binge drinking earlier today, the Committee said it focused too heavily on alcohol’s effect on anti-social behaviour and public disorder and not enough on the impact that heavy use would have on health.
The Committee also made suggestions relating to areas such as introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol and advertising with key recommendations including:
- Rules on advertising alcohol should be reviewed to ensure under-18s would not be exposed to them.
- Minimum pricing should have a ‘sunset clause’ attached which would mean the ruling would only remain if it could prove it was effective in reducing harmful drinking.
- The alcohol industry should be made to acknowledge that advertising alcohol does have an effect on its consumption if it wants to be considered committed to helping the Responsibility Deal.
Responding to the report, the BBPA said it was ‘broadly welcomed’ in its views on a sunset clause for minimum pricing, but had concerns over its views on advertising.
“The BBPA acknowledges that alcohol advertising has an effect on public attitudes. However, we have seen no clear evidence to demonstrate a link between advertising and harm,” it said in a statement.
BBPA Chief Executive Brigid Simmonds added: “In broad terms, this is a balanced report. The Committee is right to stress the importance of evidence based policy making, and the Government should garner more evidence before proceeding with a minimum pricing policy and a proposed ban on multibuys.
“There are some issues on which we differ from the committee, but there is a mutual recognition of the need for partnership between Government, producers and retailers – and with local authorities and the police at the local level.
“In recent years, we’ve seen total alcohol consumption falling, and binge drinking is also down. Measures aimed at those who need help with alcohol misuse, rather than at the population as a whole, will deliver the best results.”