The Government and industry must work together to tackle alcohol misuse

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In the recent discussion paper ‘Changing Scotland's Relationship With Alcohol', the Scottish government proposed a number of initiatives to tackle alcohol misuse including introducing the minimum retail pricing of alcohol, raising the minimum purchase age to 21 in off-sales, and action to end below-cost selling of alcoholic drinks in licensed premises.

In response to the paper Diageo Great Britain (GB) has outlined plans to forge a new consensus between industry, government and individuals to combat alcohol misuse. It outlines a new system of coregulation for alcohol promotions that would set a clearly defined code of practice for industry to self-regulate, and be rigorously monitored and enforced by government.

It also makes it clear the introduction of a minimum retail price for alcohol would be likely to unfairly penalise the vast majority of the public who drink responsibly, without targeting those who do not.

We are disillusioned with the Scottish government and frustrated that government is trying to place responsibility for tackling alcohol misuse on the drinks industry and failing to recognise everyone shares the responsibility.

We believe many of these proposals are not the way to tackle the problem. As such we suggest government's emphasis should refocus on working with the industry in a constructive partnership, so as to better design, implement and enforce co-regulation.

Benet Slay is managing director of Diageo GB

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