Statements and responses
Alcohol Concern have released a short briefing responding directly to some of the specifics in the strategy, and also a press release which called for more public health spend on alcohol. It argues that alcohol remains the "Cinderella issue in competition with drugs, obesity, mental health and other issues" and more than the current average 0.1% of PCT's budgets must be invested in alcohol treatment and prevention.
The Alcohol Academy, who aim to support effective local alcohol harm reduction, released a response to the strategy supporting many of the main areas. However the Academy said further recognition and support for the role of local alcohol strategies in securing local level leadership and investment was needed. Whilst supporting links to cross-cutting agendas such as mental health in the strategy, the Academy highlighted a lack of detail or commitment to support specific areas such as workplace initiatives or high quality alcohol commissioning.
Professor Ray Hodgson has responded on behalf of Alcohol Reasearch UK. The response assesses the evidence-base underpinning some of the key policy proposals within the strategy and outlines research funded by Alcohol Research UK relevant to the proposals.
Further comments and reaction
Dr James Nicholls, an alcohol and policy researcher and author wrote a piece in the Huffington Post: The New Alcohol Strategy Raises Some Old Questions. It explores the focus of current alcohol debates and the lessons from history, particualy around the role of Government and possible conflicts over personal freedoms.
A blog post by Dr John Foster, an alcohol researcher at Greenwhich University explores the importance of the pub as a social environment, despite its decline given the significant shift towards home drinking.
Phil Mellows, a well-known journalist and reporter has written a critical response titled Undeserving drinkers: moralism and the alcohol strategy. It suggests that the alcohol strategy is shaped by a conflict between the Home Office and Department of Health, but the new strategy goes too far on law and order, such as with forced sobriety schemes for offenders.
Drinkaware, industry and trade reaction
The industry funded education charity Drinkware responded to the strategy saying that it must address Britain's "hidden binge drinkers". Chris Sorek, Drinkaware's Chief Executive, said: "while young adults sprawled on pavements after a night out on the town grabs headlines, Britain’s hidden binge drinkers present a worry trend that needs to be addressed".
The Wine and Trade Spirit Association responded supporting elements of the strategy but opposing minimum pricing and other restrictions. See also statements from The British Beer and Pub Association and the The Portman Group.
News and media coverage
The main press reports can be found on the Drugscope daily editions on the 23rd March and 26th March. Alcohol Concern also have tagged related media reports or try searching google news. Some of the reports include:
- Alcohol pricing: politics under the influence and letters in response - Guardian Editorial
- Alcohol prices: Theresa May takes lead as government braces for legal fight - The Guardian
- Would introducing a minimum price for alcohol of 40p per unit breach EU law? - The Guardian
- Minimum alcohol price 'could be higher than 40p per unit' - The Telegraph
- An inadequate alcohol strategy in the face of a national crisis - The Daily Mail
- Drinks companies threaten legal action over Prime Minister's assault on cheap alcohol, claiming it 'breaks EU law' - The Daily Mail
- Theresa May defends government alcohol pricing plans - The Independent
- Businesses attack Cameron's alcohol policy - The FT
Further responses and updates
A free edition of the Addiction Journal has a range or articles exploring pricing and taxation approaches. The Economist has assessed minimum pricing in its coverage of the news. The Morning Advertiser has a minimum pricing 'hot topics' page.
Alcohol Action Ireland said Northern Ireland could follow suit and the European Alcohol Policy Alliance EuroCare praised the move. The PHSE Association welcomed the strategy's recognition of the role of PHSE education in schools.
If you think we've missed something important please post it in the comments box below or let us know.