Home Office Minister for Crime Prevention Norman Baker spoke at the Portman Group-organised conference Building Partnerships to Tackle Alcohol Harms, which brought together local authorities, police, health services and other groups to share best practice on dealing with alcohol-related issues.
He said: “There is clearly plenty of work that needs to be done. Alcohol harm costs society around £21 billion a year and the coalition government is determined to reduce that unacceptable bill to taxpayers.
“Local Alcohol Action Areas are a good example of how government can work with a range of partners, including the drinks industry, to tackle alcohol abuse.
“Industry has a key role to play and we expect them to play it.”
The government recently named 20 areas around the UK as Local Alcohol Action Areas in a bid to fight drink-fuelled crime and disorder.
The areas will bring together licensing authorities, health bodies, police, businesses and other groups to address problems caused by alcohol, and will be supported by the government.
Representatives from a number of LAAAs attended the conference, which showcased schemes including Community Alcohol Partnerships and Best Bar None.
Chief executive Henry Ashworth said: “We know that local areas have different challenges when it comes to alcohol harms. Through closer collaboration with a range of local partners, including the drinks industry, those areas can not only improve public health but also make their high streets and town centres safer, more enjoyable places to visit and increase their economic potential.”