New government alcohol strategy seeks to tackle binge drinking


The government have published their new alcohol strategy for the United Kingdom.

The last few years has seen a fall in the number of alcohol-related deaths in many other countries, but the UK has bucked this trend and has seen a rise in deaths from liver disease and an increase in hospital admissions related to alcohol consumption.

Existing policies have done little to remedy the situation and so this new policy includes commitments to:

  • Introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol
  • Consult on a ban on the sale of multi-buy alcohol discounting
  • Introduce stronger powers for local areas to control the density of licensed premises including making the impact on health a consideration for this
  • Pilot innovative sobriety schemes to challenge alcohol-related offending

Research suggests that introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol will help to reduce excessive consumption, but this clearly needs to be done as part of a wider strategy that also offers people the kind of support and treatment they need to drink sensibly and manage their health.

The programme also includes plans to:

  • Overhaul the Licensing Act to give local authorities and the police much stronger powers to remove licences from, or refuse to grant licences to premises that are causing problems
  • Allow councils and the police to permanently shut down any shop or bar that is repeatedly selling alcohol to children
  • Double the maximum fine for those caught selling alcohol to minors to £20,000


The Government’s alcohol strategy (PDF). Home Office, CM 8336, 23 Mar 2012.

Science and Technology Committee – Eleventh Report: Alcohol Guidelines. 7 Dec 2011.

Government Response to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee Report of Session 2010–12: Alcohol Guidelines (PDF). CM 8329, Mar 2012.

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Andre Tomlin

André Tomlin is an Information Scientist with 20 years experience working in evidence-based healthcare. He's worked in the NHS, for Oxford University and since 2002 as Managing Director of Minervation Ltd, a consultancy company who do clever digital stuff for charities, universities and the public sector. Most recently André has been the driving force behind the Mental Elf and the National Elf Service; an innovative digital platform that helps professionals keep up to date with simple, clear and engaging summaries of evidence-based research. André is a Trustee at the Centre for Mental Health and an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London Division of Psychiatry. He lives in Bristol, surrounded by dogs, elflings and lots of woodland!

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