A group of MPs has called for cigarette-style health warnings to appear on alcohol labels in a bid to curb problem drinking.
The manifesto from the All-Party Parliamentary Group (AAPG) on Alcohol Misuse urges political parties to commit to 10 measures designed to minimise alcohol-related harm.
These include the introduction of health warnings on all alcohol labels, minimum unit pricing, strengthening the rules around alcohol marketing, and enabling local authorities to limit the number of alcohol licences in any one area.
Group chairwoman Tracey Crouch said the measures would represent a “massive step” in tackling alcohol misuse.
However, Association of Convenience Stores chief executive James Lowman said the manifesto ignored the many positive steps already being taken to reduce alcohol consumption. He also criticised it for failing to acknowledge the decline in alcohol consumption, especially among young people, and reduction in binge drinking. “This is due to a host of positive changes in behaviour, supported by industry initiatives such as Community Alcohol Partnerships and city centre management schemes,” he said.
Limiting alcohol licences would stop investment by responsible entrepreneurs “who should be able to earn the right to sell alcohol by demonstrating high standards, rather than being subject to an arbitrary limit on licences,” Lowman added.
The Department of Health made no comment about the APPG report, but a spokeswoman said that work was already being done to curb excessive drinking. “Through our responsibility deal, the drinks industry has committed to putting unit and health messages on 80% of all bottles and cans. And we have banned alcohol sales below the level of duty plus VAT to tackle the worst cases of very cheap and harmful alcohol.”