Voluntary plan announced by drinks industry

Drinks producers and retailers have announced what they have called a significant range of voluntary industry actions to help the UK Government tackle alcohol misuse and promote responsible drinking.

In response to the partnership challenge set by the Government, businesses have developed six voluntary pledges ranging from:

  • supporting local areas to tackle anti-social behaviour by rolling out alcohol partnership schemes in Local Alcohol Action Areas by the end of 2015
  • introducing new good practice guidance for the responsible retailing of alcohol in the off-trade
  • some producers reviewing carbonated products in single serve cans so they do not contain more than four units of alcohol
  • offering lower alcohol house wines below 12.5% and lower and no-alcohol beers in pubs, bars and restaurants to help people drink within recommended guidelines
  • providing £250,000 to kick start funding for new education programmes in schools
  • committing to train 10,000 pub, bar and retail staff by 2016 to gain a  British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) Responsible Alcohol Retailing qualification, actively prioritising those areas most likely to benefit.

 

These pledges are in addition to the eight core alcohol pledges already made as part of the Public Heath Responsibility Deal in England and Wales.

These six additional pledges were presented to Westminster Ministers on 7th July 2014. Different partners will sign up to each of the pledges as appropriate. Different partners will sign up to each of the pledges as appropriate.

Welcoming this new package, the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt said: “Our Responsibility Deal has made real progress, as the industry is taking one billion units out of the market and has agreed to provide labelling which includes health warnings and unit information. The new pledges will help people to drink responsibly and make healthier choices.”

Minister for Public Health, Jane Ellison has also confirmed that industry has met its target by achieving 79.3% on its pledge to feature important health information on 80% of labels on shelf by the end of 2013.

Henry Ashworth, Chair of the Responsibility Deal Alcohol Network said: “UK drinks producers and retailers have a strong track record in delivering programmes of voluntary activity to support government in tackling anti-social behaviour caused by alcohol misuse. As responsible businesses, we are determined to play our part and have set out a whole new programme of voluntary actions in response to the challenge set by the Government. Working in partnership with business is a great way to get positive change happening quickly in towns and cities throughout the UK.”

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said: “Tackling alcohol-related harm is a key priority for the drinks industry. By working in partnership with Government, producers and retailers have committed to a new and substantial package of voluntary pledges aimed at promoting responsible drinking. It is especially important that retailers have agreed, for the first time, to produce, promote and maintain good practice guidance on the responsible retailing of alcohol through the Retail of Alcohol Standards Group. This package is another positive step for partnership working and building a culture of responsible drinking in the UK. ”

James Lowman, ACS Chief Executive, added: “In recent years we have seen retailers taking action both in store and within their local communities to address issues of alcohol-related harm. ACS has a proud record of promoting local initiatives such as Community Alcohol Partnerships, and we are playing a full part in supporting the Government’s Local Alcohol Action Areas. We are committed to driving up standards through promoting best practice and responsible retailing and will support the work of Retail Alcohol Standards Group in doing this.”

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