Trade responds to Cameron's pledge to beat binge-drinking

Trade bodies have responded to prime minister David Cameron’s pledge to tackle problem drinking today (February 15). 

Interim Wine & Spirit Trade Association chief executive Gavin Partington said: “The drinks industry is committed to helping the government tackle alcohol misuse, alongside other stakeholders. This is why we are working hard through the Public Health Responsibility Deal on a range of initiatives to promote responsible drinking.  

“These include the expansion of Community Alcohol Partnerships across the UK and a national campaign by retailers to raise consumer awareness about the units of alcohol in their favourite drinks.

“Unlike these measures, minimum unit pricing is a blunt tool which would both fail to address the problem of alcohol misuse and punish the vast majority of responsible consumers. As government ministers acknowledge, it is also probably illegal.” 

Portman Group chief executive Henry Ashworth said: “The prime minister is absolutely right to highlight the behaviour of the reckless minority who spoil the responsible majority’s enjoyment of a sociable drink. As producers, we are determined to be effective partners in tackling public drunkenness, which is an embarrassment to us all, and to encourage people to drink responsibly.”

Chris Sorek, chief executive of alcohol education charity Drinkaware, said: “As an education charity dedicated to changing the UK’s culture, we fully support the prime minister’s commitment to reducing alcohol misuse in the UK. 

“We work with the government, public health community and drinks industry to help bring about a change in our nation’s drinking behaviour. In 2011, almost 60 on-trade and off-trade companies and producers came together with the NUS to support Drinkaware’s £100 million five-year Why Let Good Times Go Bad? campaign, to challenge the acceptability and desirability of drunkenness among young adults and reduce binge-drinking. 

“Alcohol misuse by a minority can blight relationships, families and communities. We believe that by working together with the government, public health professionals and the drinks industry, we can help change our nation’s drinking behaviour. We are pleased to see this issue high on the political agenda and look forward to seeing the government’s alcohol strategy.”

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