Davenport direct

13 June, 2008

Finally, some agreement between government and parents - but what will be the real outcome of youth report?

Scouring the streets

for youngsters hanging around , the TV crews reporting on the government's Youth Alcohol Action Plan weren't short on quotes from kids about why they - or their peers - drink alcohol. Boredom was frequently cited by the assembled groups - but Westminster takes a much broader view, saying they drink to be social and relax, the same as anyone else really. And parents, too, appreciate that the problem is fuelled by a wide range of issues beyond not having a local ice rink.

That there is some apparent unity between parents and ministers is encouraging

- we've long argued that education and guidance

are key. But harnessing the impact of this potential new partnership


turning it into real results

will undoubtedly

be a big challenge.

And, what would constitute a victory in the government's mind anyway?

The report already shows that the number of young people (aged 11-15 ) who drink regularly is falling, and the number of shops failing test

purchase stings has, "in recent years", come down from 50%

to 15% . It even estimates that the off-trade is responsible for selling, at the most, 10% of the alcohol that is consumed under


Great strides have already been made by the trade, from embracing Challenge 21 to voluntary in-house test purchasing. It's all proof that retailers are switched

on to the issues

and are respond ing to them.

As ministers leaf through the KPMG audit of the industry's self-regulation, expected to see the full light of day this summer, let's hope these efforts aren't over looked.

Sadly, if ludicrous comments by Nottinghamshire

chief constable Steve Green, who says all alcohol should be removed from shelves and sold over the counter, are anything to go by, we can't bet on it.

The Daily sale

Who could have expected that Lidl's target shopper and readers of the The Mail on Sunday would one day happily occupy the same

Venn diagram?

While the retailer has frequently used the daily version of the paper to carry adverts for its beguiling mix of snorkelling masks, duvet covers and Tyrol ham, it now plans to spread the word through the title's more upmarket weekend supplements.

Despite high

hopes of trading shoppers up, all the signs suggest that everyone, even AB consumers, want cheaper goods - or at least more value. That's why Asda's three-for-£10 wine mechanic appears to be making inroads and brewers - the biggest advertisers of all with spends often topping £30 million - are no longer having any cut through, other than on price.

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