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Consumers' Time To Speak

Published:  18 January, 2007

The buzz of the London International Wine Fair and Distil brings with it a healthy mix of perspiration and inspiration.

Health experts have had their say. Charities and anti-alcohol campaigners have spoken and the industry has offered its view. The pressure to "do something" has led to a raft of government reviews and a Budget which significantly increased the tax burden on ordinary consumers. But at no stage have the views of those consumers been heard in the debate.

We've been talking to consumers and to our member companies about their customers and what they've told us is backed up by opinion polling and research. Many ordinary people feel left out and want to contribute to the debate.

They feel they are being made to pay the price for the action of a minority that misuses alcohol. They have views on police enforcement. They have views on parental responsibility and the need to educate children about alcohol and the dangers of misuse.

The RDA is a forum based on a website, giving people the chance to have their say.

Forum members can use the site to discuss the latest policy developments.

It's early days. Feedback among the trade last week was overwhelmingly positive, but then we expected that. Let's ensure your customers, who enjoy alcohol responsibly, have their say in the weeks and months to come.

Jeremy Beadles is chief executive of the Wine &?Spirit Trade Association