On The Agenda: PM calls for action on alcohol abuse

Prime Minister David Cameron has called for the drinks industry, bars and supermarkets in England to put more effort into promoting responsible drinking. The call came as Cameron branded drunkenness in England the 'scandal' of the nation, stating that it and alcohol abuse costs the NHS £2.7bn a year.

Alcohol concern: David Cameron wants to encourage the promotion of responsible drinking
Alcohol concern: David Cameron wants to encourage the promotion of responsible drinking
About the strategy

 

The Government is to publish its alcohol strategy for England later this year. It is expected to include a ban on the sale of alcohol at below cost price, less than the tax paid on it, which is scheduled to be introduced in England and Wales from 6 April.

The case for and against

Opponents against fixing a minimum unit price say it is unfair and penalises all drinkers, even those who do not cause problems or suffer from alcohol addiction. Cameron stated that something must be done to lessen the alcohol-related costs to society.

PR strategy

Alcohol Concern responded to the PM's statement by briefing the national press, offering chief executive Eric Appleby for interviews and issuing a press release on 15 February. The charity called for treatment centres to be created to take the pressure off the NHS and to tackle the root causes of problem drinking, not just the symptoms.

Media coverage

The story was picked up nationally by newspapers including The Guardian, The Independent, Daily Mirror, Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph.

210k Number of people who could die in the next 20 years in England and Wales if alcohol laws are not reformed*

1.17m Number of alcohol-related hospital admissions in 2010/11 in UK

*Source: The BBC

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