The Government has published its response to the House of Commons Health Select Committee inquiry on the Government’s Alcohol Strategy.
The Committee gave a positive welcome overall to the Government’s Alcohol Strategy and it welcomed the decision to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol.
The 4 key recommendations from the report are:
- The Committee shares concerns about the social impact of binge drinking but we believe it is also important to ensure that the Government’s strategy recognises and responds to the evidence of an increasing health impact of excessive alcohol consumption
- Alcohol misuse affects a large number of people. The current annual death rate from alcohol-related conditions is more than three times that for deaths in road accidents, and the cost to the NHS of treating such conditions is around 3% of its annual budget. The Government’s strategy is a welcome attempt to address some of these problems in a coherent way
- The establishment of Public Health England provides an important opportunity to analyse the true public health impact of alcohol consumption and adopt a package of policy responses which is evidence-based, as well as being carefully calibrated and targeted
- The main focus of the strategy is the need to address public order issues. We agree that these are important, but we believe that the health impact of the misuse of alcohol is more insidious and pervasive; this report therefore focuses on ways in which those harms to health can be addressed.
The Government will consult on the level of minimum unit price and on other proposals set out in the Strategy during the autumn.
The Government’s Alcohol Strategy (PDF). HM Government, Cm 8336, Mar 2012.