Alcohol consumption and misuse:

“This lengthy report does not contain any new policy ideas, nor does it fully reflect the significant declines in harmful drinking in the last decade. It is deeply concerning that Public Health England are also contradicting the government’s own figures on alcohol consumption. Today we drink about the same amount of alcohol as we did 40 years ago, not ‘twice as much’ as Public Health England claim. Furthermore, alcohol consumption in the UK peaked in 2004, not 2008 as this report suggests.

Official government statistics show significant declines in binge drinking, harmful drinking, underage drinking, alcohol-related crime, drink-driving and declines in alcohol-related hospital admissions among the under 18s and under 40s. This indicates alcohol policy is on the right track and is consistent and proportionate.

There is no doubt that there are still communities that suffer disproportionately from alcohol-related harms, as this report recognises, and that harms are particularly prevalent amongst those in the lowest socio-economic groups. This is where targeted support should be provided through strong partnerships between public, private and third sector organisations.”

Alcohol Marketing & Self-regulation

“This report makes outdated, unjustified and incorrect assumptions about the regulation of alcohol marketing in the UK, including failing to acknowledge the existence of codes that govern alcohol sponsorship. In the UK there is a comprehensive, joined-up system of self-regulation that ensures alcohol is not marketed to children or promoted in an irresponsible way. These robust rules have been in place for 20 years, are updated frequently, and have resulted in the removal of over 150 irresponsible products from the market. It is disappointing that during this evidence review, Public Health England made no attempt to contact the industry regulators to understand how this effective self-regulatory system works.”

Henry Ashworth
Chief Executive, Portman Group