Health Groups Not Impressed by UK Govs Proposals
Something a bit more serious for this news item and it relates to the fact the the British consumption of alcohol units has been steadily (and not so steadily) climbing for some years now. The World Health Organisation recently released a report detailing the drinking habits of every country in the world and the U.K. ranks at number 17 with 13.4 litres of alcohol consumed per person per year (Moldova is number one with 19.2 litres). You can read the whole report here. The top 25 are almost exclusively European with the one exception appearing to be South Korea.
In light of this and in light of the constantly increasing costs of alcohol abuse for taxpayers, the UK government has attempted to formulate a strategy to make alcohol less affordable among other measures. In the UK the costs associated with alcohol abuse are mostly related to pressure on the taxpayer funded National Health Service, although there are other costs such as policing in town and city-centres on weekend evenings. Of course there are also social problems associated with alcohol related to domestic violence and anti-social behaviour.
So what did the government come up with? Well, not much it seems if the response of many from the health industry is anything to go by. There’s certainly nothing concrete in the measures and it looks like the government have just got together with the immensely powerful drinks industry and formulated a few impressive soundbites – the result of which is a continuation with the status quo.
Health groups seem to agree and the full list of those unwilling to sign up to these measures is a long and influential one – Alcohol Concern, the British Association for the Study of the Liver, the British Liver Trust, the British Medical Association, the Institute of Alcohol Studies and the Royal College of Physicians.
Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, said: “It’s all carrot and no stick for the
drinks industry and supermarkets”, and this appears to be the view from the other organisations. It’s worth pointing out that the measures will not affect pub-goers – the changes are mostly related to alcohol bought from supermarkets.