Lansley wants supermarket action on 'front of store' promotions
The Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, has written to supermarkets to re-iterate requests that supermarkets pledge to remove alcohol promotions from front of stores, reports The Telegraph.
Department of Health (DoH) officials said Ministers were frustrated that more supermarkets had not made further commitments, with only Asda applying discretion to the location of alcohol promotions. In the letter, Lansley called on the supermarkets to "do more", requesting "all major alcohol retailers' full participation in this effort".
Earlier this year Alcohol Concern realeasd a report calling for separate alcohol aisles in supermarkets. The report claimed abundant alcohol displays were normalising alcohol as an everyday commodity, reducing recognition of it as a potentially harmful drug.
The Guardian has claimed the Health Secretary has been forced into a u-turn over his decision to cut DoH communications campaigns. Following the cuts to marketing spend, a DoH report found the number of calls to FRANK had fallen by 22% and visits to the Smokefree website had fallen by 50%. The number of people joining the government's Change4Life website, which is set to take on a greater remit for alcohol messaging, was down 80%.
A BBC report said the government will now spend £44m on four campaigns in England. £15m is being released to fund Smokefree, £14m for Change4Life, £11m for advertising issues affecting older people, and £4m for targeting improvements to the lives of young people.
The news follows the recent release of the DoH's social marketing strategy 'Changing Behaviour, Improving Outcomes'. In reference to alcohol, the strategy states:
"...the alcohol health harms messaging will be brought more fully under the Change4Life umbrella, embracing not only calorific content of alcohol but also the wider health harms of alcohol. As part of this, we will expand our partnership engagement strategy to include the relevant NGOs, Drinkaware and, if they are willing, the alcohol manufacturers and retailers."
"There are messages and materials relating to drinking above guidelines that will need to be provided outside of the Change4Life campaign. As well as working with Drinkaware and others, we will set aside a portion of resources to develop alcohol-specific messaging within the young people’s strand and messaging around the impact of drinking above guidelines upon common health conditions, as part of the older people strand."