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Pub trade takes on Alcohol Health Alliance


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The BBPA has posed five key questions to the Alcohol Health Alliance

The British Beer and Pub Association has posed five key questions to the newly formed Alcohol Health Alliance.


The lobby group is headed by the Royal College of Physicians and includes 21 other groups including Alcohol Concern, the British Liver Trust and the Health Research Trust.


The Alliance is pushing for an increase in tax on alcohol, health warning labels on drinks and greater restrictions on alcohol advertising.


In an open letter to Alcohol Health Alliance chairman Professor Ian Gilmore the industry has asked;


1. If current policies are insufficient, why are the numbers of people drinking in excess of the daily unit guidelines falling?


We are challenging some of the basic assumptions at the heart of this campaign
Rob Hayward
BBPA chief executive


2. If high taxes reduce harm, why does the UK, which has the second highest alcohol tax rates in Europe, have worse drinking behaviours than low tax countries?


3. If high taxes reduce harm, why do the high tax countries of Europe have higher levels of binge drinking than the low tax countries?


4. If alcohol advertising encourages people to drink more, why has alcohol consumption in the UK fallen for the last two years?


5. Rather than call for health warning labels, which is ineffective at reaching those who drink excessively, what are doctors doing to encourage and promote moderate consumption, given those who drink moderately enjoy longer lives than those who drink excessively or don't drink at all?


Strong challenge


"We are challenging some of the basic assumptions at the heart of this campaign," said Rob Hayward (pictured), chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).


"We do not believe the evidence base supports their call for higher taxes, more regulation and health warnings.


"Indeed, these concerns are heightened because our experience from around the world, strongly suggests that the measures this lobby group are seeking could make the situation worse."


The BBPA, along with the Gin & Vodka Association, National Association of Cider Makers, Scotch Whisky Association and the Wine & Spirits Trade Association has asked for a meeting with the Alliance to discuss the issues in greater detail.


The letter warns: "In our view, the measures you are seeking would increase the burden on taxpayers, further restrict personal freedoms and limit consumer choice, while at the same time have little or no impact on alcohol misuse.


"In fact, in some areas it may make the situation worse by encouraging an illicit market in alcohol."

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