Government’s Alcohol Strategy: 17th September 2012

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health (Anna Soubry)
We are today laying before Parliament the “Government Response to the House of Commons Health Committee Report of Session 2010-12: Government’s Alcohol Strategy” (Cm 8439).

The Committee gave a positive welcome overall to the Government’s alcohol strategy and welcomed in particular the decision to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol. The Committee made some important points about the need to set out the evidence behind this policy and its implementation. We will address these points when we consult on the level of minimum unit price and other proposals set out in the strategy during the autumn.

We welcome the Committee’s argument that the alcohol industry’s participation in the responsibility deal is “intrinsic to responsible corporate citizenship”. We fully agree with the Committee that it is not a substitute for Government policy.

We are committed to reversing the long term rise in both health and social harms from alcohol misuse and have set out in the strategy a number of challenging ambitions by which our success will be judged.

We welcome the Committee’s support for effective local action, such as that in Birmingham, and the opportunity they recognize for local authorities and others, supported by Public Health England, to address the serious problems caused by alcohol misuse in local communities.

Today’s publication is in the Library. Copies are available to hon. Members from the Vote Office and to noble Lords from the Printed Paper Office.