The Alcohol Information Partnership, a lobby group backed by major drinks companies, has argued that a “one-size-fits-all” approach will not help tackle excessive drinking.
According to a new report by the Institute of Alcohol Studies, the industry would lose about £13 billion in revenues if everyone in England drank within safe limits.
This prompted the organisation to criticise the sector for resisting policies to address this harm, such as minimum unit pricing and raising alcohol duty, and saying it is trying to “derail meaningful action”.
Responding to the criticism, the Alcohol Information Partnership insisted it supports community efforts to reduce harmful drinking and pointed out that official figures show a decline in alcohol consumption across the UK, the Independent reports.
A spokesperson stated that it welcomes this “more mature attitude to drinking” and said “targeted support is needed for the specific problems that are causing people and parts of the UK to buck this positive trend”.
The representative added that a “one-size-fits-all” approach is “unhelpful” and “punishes the vast majority of people who enjoy a drink, but are not problem drinkers”.
According to figures from the University of Sheffield and the Institute of Alcohol Studies, more than two-thirds of alcohol sales in England are to consumers who drink more than the recommended safe limits.
Robert Botkai, a partner at Winckworth Sherwood Solicitors, commented: “Don’t you just love these reports which result in headlines with huge figures, this time £13 billion?
“But this works on the basis that minimum unit pricing reduced excessive drinking (does it?) and raising alcohol duty (again, does it?).
“The report also states that the cost of alcohol to the NHS is £3.5 billion. There are so many factors that result in excessive drinking and harmful drinking. In my own experience (as a lawyer and parent!) it’s not just price.”