Retailers and alcohol manufacturers have slammed proposals by a cross-party group of MPs to tackle what it claims is a “national pandemic” of alcohol abuse.
In its report, the All-Party Parliamentary Shops Group on Alcohol Misuse called for 10 new measures to be adopted, including prominent health warnings on bottles, stronger regulation of marketing, a reduction in the drink-drive limit and legislation allowing local authorities to make their own licensing decisions.
But the alcohol industry and independent shops said the proposals were scaremongering, patronising and unfair.
“Drinkers shouldn’t be patronised,” said Nigel McNally, MD of Brookfield Drinks. “They should be presented with the facts in order to make an informed decision. Scaremongering is not the way to go, so any solution must have the backing of producers, health groups and consumers alike.”
Naseen Vadhera, director of North East Convenience Stores, accused MPs of unfairly targeting vendors. “They’re always trying to punish retailers for the state of society,” he said. “They should spend more time tackling the causes of anti-social behaviour and alcohol abuse.”
Sarah Hanratty, deputy chief executive of The Portman Group, the responsibility body for drinks producers in the UK, said the “vast majority” of adults enjoy alcohol responsibly and that the
industry has already voluntarily introduced a “robust” and effective code of practice.
“Government statistics clearly show significant declining trends in consumption, alcohol-related crime and drinking among young people over the past decade,” she said.
“The partnership between Government and industry is having a real impact and we must continue to support these positive cultural shifts through targeted and appropriate solutions to alcohol-related harms.”