Anand calls for pan-industry alcohol code

By Ewan Turney

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Minimum price, Alcoholic beverage, Drinking culture

Anand: calling for action
Anand: calling for action
Greene King boss Rooney Anand has called for a pan-industry code with Government backing to set a minimum price per unit of alcohol and introduce...

Greene King boss Rooney Anand has called for a pan-industry code with Government backing to set a minimum price per unit of alcohol and introduce restrictions on the times alcohol can be sold.

In an open letter published in The Times​, Anand said he was "deeply concerned" over the levels of irresponsible alcohol consumption contributing to a rise in antisocial behaviour and alcohol-related health issues.

"I also fear that if no attempt is made to solve this growing culture of irresponsible drinking, then the alcohol industry is likely to face punitive sanctions," he said.

"Such a crackdown would not just hurt the profits of companies such as mine — it would be detrimental to the hundreds of thousands of people who work in pubs, restaurants and breweries, and to the millions of our customers who enjoy, rather than abuse, drink."

He said although there was no magic wand, a new code for both producers and retailers in the on and off-trade with full Government backing could have a real impact.

"There are things that we as an industry can do here and now, with the support of our Government, to tackle binge-drinking. I would like to see a minimum price set for the sale of alcohol.

"It is a basic law of economics that price is a big factor in influencing demand, so it must make sense that setting a realistic minimum price will discourage bulk-buying of drinks.

"Furthermore, I would like to see greater restrictions across the industry on the purchase of alcohol, to ensure responsible retailing. These could include, for example, more stringent legislation banning the sale of alcohol to drunk people and more restrictions on the times of day you can buy alcohol."

Unite behind the problem

He added: "The code itself should, in my view, cover such aspects as promotions, pricing, times of sale and restrictions on who you can sell to. It does not have to be mandatory, but compliance should be made public and there should be consequences for those who don't comply.

"I would also like to see Government return a fixed amount each year from the substantial revenues generated from duties on drink to fund a long-term programme to change cultural attitudes through advertising, NHS educational leaflets and more rigorous monitoring of alcohol abuse at schools and in the workplace.

"We need to avoid being sidetracked by arguments between publicans and supermarkets, each pointing the finger at who is to blame.

"Instead, we all need to come together — pubs, retailers, producers, clubs, everyone involved in the sale of alcohol.

"If we all can band together to curb problem drinking, it will allow ordinary drinkers to carry on enjoying the liquid element of British culture that is so dear to many of us."

Related topics: Legislation

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