EUCAM - European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing

Minister hears strong North West backing for crackdown on irresponsible drinks promotions

5 August 2009

Regional Minister for the North West Phil Woolas MP yesterday - ahead of the closing date for consultation responses to new licensing proposals - heard strong public backing for urgent action to tackle irresponsible drinks promotions and the rising unhealthy drinking culture in the North West and nationwide.

Leading North West health campaign group Our Life met the minister in Manchester to present him with the results of its campaign to win public support for government proposals to outlaw irresponsible and excessive drinks promotions. Over 3,500 people across the North West have signed up to support a proposed new code of practice for alcohol retailers that will put a stop to the most dangerous drinks promotions such as "all you can drink for a tenner", speed drinking competitions and "nights of mayhem". Woolas is pictured here receiving a ballot box containing campaign postcards calling for action to stop irresponsible drinks promotions from Our Life's head of campaigns and advocacy, Calum Irving.

Asked why it was important for the government to act on alcohol related harm, Woolas said:
Young people are killing themselves. The damage to their livers and their bodies that is taking place due to binge drinking and excessive drinking is beyond anything that has happened to previous generations and we have to address it for that health reason. The other reason is that the night-time economy of our towns and cities in the North West is being damaged by excessive drinking. People don't want to go out in the evening to be accosted by people vomiting, falling over and arguing and at worst beating each other with bottles and glasses. So we have to stop it.

The idea that you can go into a club and say drink as much as you like for four or five hours for five or six pounds is obscene in my view. People want responsible drinking. They don't want to go to a nightclub where everybody is falling over and being sick - and worse - so we have to address that as well and the code of practice directly addresses that problem.

Dr Alison Giles, chief executive of Our Life, commented:
People in the North West have given a resounding thumbs down to those who promote excessive drinking which leads to enormous personal distress for families blighted by alcohol harm and costs us hundreds of millions to essential public services such as A&E and policing.

"The government should take note and implement its code of practice as soon as possible, together with further measures to force the drinks industry to behave more responsibly in the way they promote and sell alcohol. Our Life will be looking very closely at the detail in that code to make sure that the proposals go far enough to stem the rising tide of public order and health harms.

Source: Alcohol Policy UK - 04 Aug 2009

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