The chief of the Wine and Sprit Trade group has backed the call for 'personal responsibility' over alcohol consumption and called for the trade to be more involved in implementing the strategy.
Speaking about the new National Alcohol Strategy announced by the Government earlier today, Jeremy Beadles, chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, said: "On the whole this revised Strategy reflects the progress already being made in tackling alcohol misuse. The statistics included show that consumption levels are falling across the board: average weekly unit consumption is down; the percentage drinking more than the recommended daily number of units is down; and, perhaps most tellingly, HMRC excise data shows a fall in overall consumption in 2005 and 2006.
"Importantly, the Strategy recognises the central role that the alcohol drinks industry has played by working in partnership with the Government and other stakeholders on a range of issues, particularly our successes in reducing under-age sales through our "Challenge 21" campaign and the establishment of the Drinkaware Trust.
"I am pleased that throughout the Strategy there is a strong emphasis on personal responsibility and personal decision-making.
"If we expect people to change the way they make decisions about alcohol, it is essential that they understand why. "The industry recognises the important role it can play in helping to inform consumers, but we firmly believe that some messages are best delivered by Government.
"We therefore strongly welcome the commitment to develop public information campaigns and produce guidance for parents and young people."
However, Beadles said he was disappointed that the trade had not had more input into the strategy.
He said: "I was disappointed that, despite continued engagement by industry on a wide range of issues, the Strategy was drawn up without a full stakeholder consultation. Given the reliance the Government has placed on stakeholder delivery of the Strategy, I hope the alcohol drinks industry will be fully engaged in shaping the implementation of the Strategy."