Diageo severs ties with Alcohol Focus Scotland group

By Lesley Foottit

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Alcohol focus scotland, Social responsibility

Diageo: withdrawn support
Diageo: withdrawn support
Drinks giant Diageo has cut its ties with Scotland's most prominent alcohol awareness charity after the group suggested alcohol policy should be...

Drinks giant Diageo has cut its ties with Scotland's most prominent alcohol awareness charity after the group suggested alcohol policy should be similar to that on tobacco.

Diageo claims Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS) "refused" to invite it to a

conference with anti-smoking lobbyist ASH, which took place this week.

At the event, public-health experts recommended that the zero-tolerance approach to smoking is also taken with drinking.

Diageo, which has donated more than £140,000 to AFS since 2005, withdrew its financial support after the charity announced on its website that it no longer accepted support from the alcohol industry.

"We are very disappointed at the way our partnership with Alcohol Focus Scotland has come to an end," said head of corporate social responsibility for Diageo Mark Baird. "Over the past six years we have provided over £140,000 of financial support to the charity, but more importantly we have strongly supported its policy objectives of promoting responsible drinking, reducing alcohol-related harm and changing Scotland's culture in relation to alcohol.

"We also believe it is misleading and unjustified to suggest that alcohol and tobacco should be treated in the same way with regard to public-health policies and we strongly believe the recent moves by AFS to associate the two are a serious mistake that cannot go unchallenged."

Chief executive of AFS, Dr Evelyn Gillan, said: "The decision was made in September 2010 by the Alcohol Focus Scotland executive committee to no longer accept direct funding from the drinks industry."

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