The Conservative-Lib Dem coalition said it may strike a responsibility deal on public health with the drinks trade, and Wine & Spirit Trade Association chief executive Jeremy Beadles has urged the industry to seize the opportunity.
The deal aims to improve people’s health, encourage a healthier diet, foster a culture of responsible drinking, encourage people to become more physically active and support the UK workforce to lead healthier lives.
The Department of Health has suggested the drinks trade could become involved by supporting local action through Community Alcohol Partnerships and similar initiatives; maintain a system to prevent inappropriate advertising and product promotion and promote sensible drinking.
It could also support improved drinks labelling; the offering and promotion of alcohol-free and reduced-alcohol alternatives; developing a responsible retailing code for the off-trade and helping companies develop and implement workplace alcohol policies.
The WSTA is hosting a workshop on October 27 to discuss the issues and hear from secretary of state for health Andrew Lansley on his vision for the deal.
Beadles said: “I have long argued that we in the drinks industry will do best when we focus on the big issues and agree with government what we – and it – should do. Now we have our chance.”
Analysis by Jeremy Beadles, page 16