Licensees question new unit guidelines

By Oli Gross

- Last updated on GMT

Karen Errington, licensee at the Rat Inn, said the advice 'lacks credibility'
Karen Errington, licensee at the Rat Inn, said the advice 'lacks credibility'

Related tags: Critical thinking, Maida vale, Drink

Licensees have questioned the credibility of new drinking guidelines amid fears they will prove damaging to the trade.

New Government advice published last week now recommends adults drink no more than 14 units a week, roughly six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine, to stay at low risk of damaging your health. The advice now warns that drinking any amount of alcohol increases the risk of a number of cancers.
The guidelines are tougher than in other countries such as the US at 24.5 units a week, France (26), Italy (31.5) and Spain (35). It is the first review of drinking guidelines since 1995.
Helen Greer, licensee at the Feathers Inn, Stocksfield, Northumberland, said her customers were conscious of their alcohol intake, and some were likely to pay attention to the guidelines. “I think it will impact trade. I don’t think it will be dramatic but it’s another message to people not to drink. We’re constantly reminded ‘it’s bad for you’,” she said. “Hopefully, people will go for quality rather than quantity.”
Karen Errington, licensee at the Rat Inn, Anick, Northumberland, said the new advice “lacks credibility” but expected her customers to consider it in their lifestyle choices. She said: “It’s just scaring people. There’s no hard and fast rule for everyone. It depends on your body size, your health. To put one limit across the nation is not a good thing to do.”
But Alan Vaughan, licensee at the Countrymann Inn in Shipley, West Sussex, doubted how much impact advice would have on drinkers. “I don’t think it’s credible and I don’t think anyone really pays attention to it. People know their own limits,” he said.
Andrew Fishwick, licensee at the Truscott Arms in Maida Vale, London, urged the industry to avoid an “Armageddon” response to the changes. “Our job as publicans is to cater to our wonderful, eclectic, independently minded guests who will make their own adult, informed choices in life,” he said.
Industry associations said they were disappointed not to have been involved in a consultation about the new guidelines, and stated intentions to review the evidence they are based on. They also questioned the credibility of the guidelines being the same for men and women. 

Related topics: Legislation

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