Industry and government tackle alcohol misuse

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Alcohol abuse, Interbrew

The British arm of brewing giant Interbrew will work alongside the
government to combat the problem of alcohol abuse, even though it
still remains unconvinced about the long-term effectiveness of the
government's Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy.

Interbrew has backed the government's programme to cut down alcohol abuse in the UK, even though its regional president, Steve Cahillane, believes that there is still much work to be done for it to be truly effective - notably the setting of clearly defined targets.

"We are currently assessing what aspects of the strategy we can deliver quickly and are keen to get on with implementing proposals that will make a difference. There are already in place established industry funded programmes which are implemented,"​ Cahilane said.

The government has proposed that a separate fund be set up by the industry itself to prevent alcohol abuse. But Interbrew fears that this may not be the most effective way to unite the efforts of industry and government.

"I would suggest that if an alternative fund is established as proposed and administered by the Department of Health, Home Office and separate Board, we may actually see fewer industry funds reaching the front line,"​ he argued.

However, the group has urged the government to make full use of the industry's extensive market research on consumer behaviour to help counteract the problem. The UK brewing industry has pledged to work to ensure codes of good marketing practices throughout the supply chain.

Hazel Blears, Minister of State for Crime Reduction, Policing and Community Safety, has asked the industry to nominate three or four representatives to work on developing a social responsibility charter. He acknowledged the industry's wishes for voluntary rather than legislative regulation and said that the position would be reviewed next year.

"If it is working and it is making a difference we will carry on. If not we will legislate,"​ he said.

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