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alcohol health alliance uk

Balance responds to publication of Prevention Green Paper

Man drinking beer

Man drinking beer

Posted 23/07/19

Responding to the publication of the Government’s Green Paper on Prevention, Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, said: “When it comes to tackling alcohol related harm, the Prevention Green Paper is a grave disappointment. It under-estimates the scale of the problem and suggests measures which do little more than tinker around the edges of an issue which affects the North East more than any other region in England.

“The paper is full of inconsistencies. It rightly celebrates the role that regulation and policy change has played in reducing smoking and is bold in looking to a smoke-free future. Yet when it comes to alcohol – a product which, like tobacco, causes cancer, increases health inequalities, and can have serious consequences for the health and wellbeing of children – it recommends measures which will appeal to the alcohol industry rather than tackle the harm seen in some of our most vulnerable communities.

“When it comes to food and drink, the paper states that people should have access to the information they need to make informed decisions, yet the Government offers no such right to drinkers.

“Alcohol hospital admissions are increasing; liver disease is the only major condition where we see deaths increasing; investment in alcohol treatment is falling; almost half of violent crime is linked to alcohol; one in 10 hospital patients in hospital is a dependent drinker; and tens of thousands of children are living with adults who drink too much – yet the Government's only answer appears to be more alcohol-free and low alcohol drinks.

“We urge the Government to think again: to review the impact minimum unit pricing has in Scotland; to increase alcohol duty rates to reflect the harm alcohol does - and to provide much needed revenue for the public sector and alcohol treatment services; and to restrict alcohol marketing to protect our children. Only by doing so will we be able to turn the tide of alcohol harm.”