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Government urged to aim high with a pioneering new alcohol strategy

Humankind is among 30 organisations across civil society that have put their names behind a new Alcohol Charter urging the government to reduce the damage to society caused by alcohol.

The Charter, published by the Drugs, Alcohol and Justice Cross Party Parliamentary Group and the All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm, calls for the government to publish a new evidence-based alcohol strategy to improve support for those in need, protect public health and help tackle alcohol-related crime and disorder.

The document, prepared in consultation with the Alcohol Health Alliance, Alcohol Concern, Alcohol Research UK and the Institute for Alcohol Studies, entreats policy makers to follow the recommendations of the Public Health England alcohol evidence review and urgently tackle the increased availability of cheap alcohol and empower the public to make fully informed decisions about their drinking.

The Charter calls on the government to outline concrete measures to moderate harmful drinking and address the million-plus alcohol-related hospital admissions each year in England. Without tangible counter measures alcohol is set to cost the NHS £17 billion in the next five years alone.

Drugs, Alcohol & Justice Cross-Party Parliamentary Group Co-Chair Mary Glindon MP said:

“With dozens of alcohol-related deaths across the UK every day, we decided that rather than wait ages for the Government’s Alcohol Strategy, we should promote a programme of actions which could reduce harm levels dramatically.”

Drugs, Alcohol & Justice Cross-Party Parliamentary Group Co-Chair Lord Ramsbotham said:

“We believe action is needed urgently to address the cost to society inflicted by excessive alcohol. We hope our Charter will help focus attention on the issue; and that the Government will adopt these concrete steps as a basis for their forthcoming Alcohol Strategy.”

Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, commented:

“This Alcohol Charter is an important document which outlines many policies that the AHA has been calling for. The Government needs to ensure that the upcoming Alcohol Strategy includes evidence-based policies which work to reduce alcohol harm and tackle the increased availability of super cheap alcohol. The best ways to do that is by introducing minimum unit pricing in England – which we already have in Scotland and will soon have in Wales – and increasing alcohol duty.”

Fiona Bruce MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Alcohol Harm, said:

“With alcohol harm the leading cause of death among 15 to 49-year-olds, Government must urgently take much stronger action to address this, and could do no better than by implementing the excellent proposals in our Alcohol Charter without delay.”

Please click here to read the Alcohol Charter.