Alcohol industry slams sensationalist proposals

The alcohol industry has reacted angrily to the Scottish Governments plans to tackle the countrys alcohol abuse problem.

The alcohol industry has reacted angrily to the Scottish Government’s plans to tackle the country’s alcohol abuse problem.

Health secretary Nicola Sturgeon is to unveil the measures, which are expected to include plans for minimum pricing and a ban on two-for-one promotions, this week following a consultation launched last September.

Alcohol industry body The Portman Group says the Government is “not listening to reason”.

“These plans will punish all drinkers while only scratching at the surface of our drinking culture. People who drink to get drunk would not be influenced by these measures,” says the Group’s chairman David Poley.

The proposals, which include a minimum price for alcohol per unit and separate alcohol check-outs in supermarkets to deter impulse buys, were announced last year and are designed to tackle Scotland’s alcohol abuse problems, which are believed to cost about £2.25bn in lost work days and costs to the health service.

Benet Slay (pictured), managing director, Diageo Great Britain, says it shares the Government’s goal of tackling alcohol abuse but is “disappointed” industry concerns have not been listened to.

“It is still progressing with sensationalist policies rather than following evidence based ones that will target the minority of Scots that drink irresponsibly. That is short-term politics making a poor attempt at tackling a serious long-term problem, he says.

Controversial plans to increase the minimum age for buying alcohol in supermarkets and off-licences to 21 have already been rejected by Scottish MPs.

The measures follow the recent launch of a House of Common’s health committee inquiry to look into alcohol misuse and the role of the alcohol industry and marketers.

In addition, the Department of Health’s “Safe. Sensible. Social” alcohol strategy consultation was launched last summer, which includes a proposal that advertisers be forced to include a short public health message, as an “end frame” after TV and cinema ads.

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