No party thrown for coalition's voluntary booze code
The government might be feeling like hitting the bottle this morning after six top health groups said ‘no thanks’ to their new responsibility deal on alcohol, leaving the whole thing in disarray before it’s even been properly launched.
Devised as an alternative to actual hard legislation, the deal is to be made up of voluntary agreements from the drinks industry, but groups such as Alcohol Concern and the British Medical Association say that the plan isn’t tough enough. According to the Telegraph, some of the voluntary measures include…
• A ban on drinks advertising within 100 yards of schools;
• Heineken announcing this week that it is reducing the strength of “a leading brand” – thought to be the cider Strongbow – by 1pc alcohol by volume, from 5.3pc to 4.3pc as “just the start” of attempts to lower the alcoholic content of its drinks;
• It will also stamp the number of alcoholic units each drink contains on the side of the 11 million branded glasses it provides to pubs and clubs;
• Asda will say it will stop having promotional drink offers on display at the entrances to its stores;
• New warning labels on the health effects of alcohol will be put on 80pc of drinks products;
• Pubs and clubs will agree to increase the number of signs giving information about problem drinking.
Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, didn’t mince his word when he said: “It's all carrot and no stick for the drinks industry and supermarkets. By allowing the drinks industry to propose such half-hearted pledges on alcohol with no teeth, this government has clearly shown that, when it comes to public health, its first priority is to side with big business and protect private profit.”
In their defence, the government say that they’re ploughing ahead with plans for a new tax on super-strength beers and a ban on below-cost alcohol, but how much effect that will have on the nation’s obsession with getting unhealthily pissed remains to be seen.
How much have YOU had to drink this morning and were you within 100 yards of a school? Teachers needn’t respond to this question by the way…