Norman Lamb, MP for North Norfolk, joined the Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA)’s Parliamentary Event to celebrate the recent strides forward in alcohol policy and outline the many challenges that remain.
The ripples of harmful alcohol consumption pass from individuals, through families and communities, and impact our society as a whole. These effects are substantial and wide-reaching as alcohol contributes to the death of 65 people every day in England alone1, is involved in 39% of all violent crime in England and Wales,2 and costs NHS England £3.5 billion every year.3
The most substantial recent development in alcohol policy has been the adoption of minimum unit pricing (MUP) in some, but not all, parts of the British Isles. Last May Scotland led the way by introducing a 50p MUP, and Wales will do so this year. This policy, which means no alcoholic product can be sold at less than 50p per unit of alcohol, targets the highest strength, cheapest products and has little to no impact on pubs and moderate drinkers. MUP will also be introduced in the Republic of Ireland in the near future, but there are no current plans to do so in England.
While it is still too early to say what the impact of MUP in Scotland has been so far, it is expected to deliver significant health and social benefits. In England, the introduction of MUP is expected to save 525 lives and prevent 22,000 hospital admissions every year. 4
Norman Lamb MP said:
“I am acutely aware that alcohol can, in some circumstances, have a truly devastating effect on individuals.
I was pleased to attend this reception on Parliament, and support calls for targeted, evidence-based programmes that will allow us to reduce alcohol harm. I strongly support the introduction of a Minimum Unit Price.”
Sir Ian Gilmore, chair of the AHA, commented:
“The magnitude of the impact of alcohol on our society is truly staggering.
The forthcoming Prevention Green Paper provides a great opportunity to reduce these levels of alcohol harm and allow England to catch up with its neighbours.
We are calling on the Government to also introduce minimum unit pricing in England, a policy that can save hundreds of lives and prevent thousands of episodes of harm each year, without significant cost to those who consume alcohol in moderation.”
The bartender’s perspective
Rich Woods, author of The Cocktail Guy and Co-founder of Weapons and Toys Drinks Consultancy, London, said: “We’re no longer seeing ‘mocktails’ reduced to the back of the menu. These incredibly creative Non-Alc cocktails are now taking centre stage on menus, sharing an equivalent portion of the limelight with their alcoholic siblings. Not wanting to compromise on taste, top bars are innovating really quickly to ensure that equal experiences are given to every guest, regardless of whether or not they’re drinking alcohol.”
‘Non-Alcoholic Drinks: A Growth Story’ follows Distill Ventures’ ‘Better Drinks When You’re Not Drinking’ Drink Trend Spotlight, which was first published in 2017 and highlighted opportunities for entrepreneurs in what the accelerator called “the most exciting opportunity in the industry”.
For full methodology and data sources, please download ‘Non-Alcoholic Drinks: A Growth Story’ from Distill Ventures’ website: https://www.distillventures.com/.