Health groups slam binge-drinking body

Plans drawn up by the Government and the alcohol industry to create a new national sensible drinking education programme have come under fire from health groups, which say the new body will be underfunded and too much under the influence of drinks companies.

The Portman Group, which has been driving the plans forward, has categorically denied allegations that drinks companies have been promised a seat on the board of the new group if they promise to contribute a minimum of &£450,000 to fund it. A Portman Group spokeswoman says: “That is absolutely not true. How trustees will be selected is still a matter for discussion.”

The plans will be unveiled at a meeting to be held in Whitehall on January 18. In attendance will be representatives from the drinks industry, the Home Office, the Department of Media, Culture and Sport, the Department of Health, Alcohol Concern and the medical professions.

The new body will be based on Drink Aware, the responsible drinking education initiative run by The Portman Group – the drinks industry lobby group that also administers the industry’s self-regulatory code governing the marketing of alcohol.

However, the new body will be completely separate from The Portman Group, and will be run as an independent educational charity.

The charity will be administered by a board of 13 trustees, six of whom will come from the drinks industry and six who will be independent. The chair will also be independent.

The plans call for it to have a total budget in its first year of &£3m, rising to &£5m in its third year. Most of the funding will come from the alcohol industry.

Health groups point out that the drinks industry spends up to &£800m a year on marketing products. Government figures suggest alcohol abuse costs the UK economy between &£18bn and &£20bn a year.

Latest from Marketing Week

PLEASE SIGN IN OR REGISTER. IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and inspiration that will help you develop as a marketer and leader.

Register and receive the best content from the only title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work, so we can make Marketing Week more relevant to you.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team and columnists will ask the biggest questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we will be your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Dedicated to developing your skills and helping you achieve marketing excellence. Find guidance on leadership, professional development and the latest industry jobs.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here