Balls to scrutinise alcohol brands in youth action plan

Ed%20Balls%2C%20Secretary%20of%20State%20for%20the%20Department%20of%20Children%2C%20Schools%20and%20FamiliesAlcohol advertising will come under further scrutiny as Ed Balls, the Secretary of State for the Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), plans to look at the role that alcohol brands play in influencing children.

The move is part of the Youth Alcohol Action Plan, which will be announced by the department in June. The programme is part of the Secretary of State’s agenda on how to cut down drinking among children.

The new programme will be in addition to the anti-binge drinking campaign led by the Home Office and the Department of Health’s social marketing campaign, which includes the £6m “Know your limits” campaign launched this week.

The Youth Alcohol Action Plan will also look into giving advice to parents about when best to introduce alcohol to children or how often to allow them a glass of wine with dinner.

One insider says: “The DCSF feels the need to jump into the alcohol abuse de-bate because it thinks that parents are confused about how to deal with the issue when it comes to young children.”

It is understood focus groups with several stakeholders including alcohol producers have already been undertaken to look into the role that brands are playing “intentionally or unintentionally” when influencing children; and to understand why children have started drinking at an earlier age.

The “Know your limits” ad launched by the Department of Health earlier this week was the first phase of its campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of drinking. The campaign will initially focus on educating consumers about how many units are in their drinks and healthy consumption rates. Vallance Carruthers Coleman Priest created the campaign, which is billed as the Government’s biggest alcohol awareness campaign to date.

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