Advertisers welcome MP’s ‘sensible’ response to alcohol ad ban

Advertising industry bodies have hailed the government’s decision to reject a call from MP’s to impose a total ban on advertising on TV and in cinemas.

The government’s verdict on the “weak” proposals for tighter controls on alcohol ads and sponsorship bans are “sensible” and “balanced”, say advertisers.

In response to the Health Select Committee’s report into March’s Alcohol Strategy, the Department of Health said the proposal to issue a blanket ban on alcohol advertising on TV and in cinema was ‘weak’.

The government argued that if the “principles’ of Loi Evnin, the French law that bans alcohol ads on television and in cinemas, were implemented in the UK would not reduce under-age drinking. MP’s had called for a version of the French law, one of several to combat alcohol misuse, believing that the approach merited “serious examination in the English context.”

Ian Twinn, ISBA’s director of public affairs, welcomed the government’s conclusion, claiming that it would have led to “untold damage to business.”

He adds: “The government recognises that tough safeguards adopted by the UK, and supervised by the ASA and the Portman Group, already exist to prevent alcohol misuse and to protect children from exposure to alcohol advertising.

“The government has taken a balanced and well-thought through position which acknowledges that businesses recognise they have a part to play in preventing alcohol misuse and, to that end, are committed to engaging with the Government’s Responsibility Deal.”

The point was echoed by the Advertising Association, which added that alcohol advertising is already “robustly” policed in the UK. Ian Barber, spokesman for the advertising trade body, says: “The Health Select Committee wrongly called for consideration of French-style swingeing advertising restrictions, even though there is no evidence that this has reduced harmful alcohol consumption.”

Additionally, the response also revealed that the Government would launch an autumn consultation on the possible per unit price for alcohol and would consider linking any price to the rate of inflation.

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