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Saturday 23rd June 2018

Tougher enforcement to counter irresponsible drinking

25th July 2008

Benet Slay, managing director of alcoholic drinks company Diageo Great Britain, says tougher enforcement is needed to counter irresponsible drinking.


We are as unhappy about levels of "irresponsible and harmful practice" in sections of the drinks industry as anyone else.

But without a comprehensive scheme of self-regulation, some alcohol promotions will continue to fail to meet high standards of social responsibility.

With 25% of the population drinking to a "harmful level", as an industry, we need to act together.

The Challenge 21 scheme has been a good example of that. Supported by 75,000 off-trade stores, it sees a million people a month turned away from pubs for failure to produce proof of age.

But as is so often the case the irresponsible behaviour of a few is "undermining the great work of the majority."

To change attitudes towards alcohol, the government and the drinks industry must work together rather than just targeting producers, retailers or the on-trade.

Existing alcohol legislation and intervention schemes for alcohol misuse must be enforced and wider information made available on responsible drinking and the dangers of underage drinking. In addition, every drinker has to take responsibility for their actions.

We want the government to endorse a code of practice that encourages and defines responsible promotion, and to introduce a comprehensive enforcement scheme that applies to all those who promote, serve or sell alcohol.

Co-regulation would see the industry set its own standards but with increased government involvement over acceptable practices.

This allows individuals to be accountable but "ramps up" the level of responsibility expected of the drinks industry.


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