The drinks industry has launched an organisation designed to ensure that the debate in UK society around alcohol and alcohol misuse remains balanced.
The Alcohol Information Partnership is funded by Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Campari, Bacardi Brown-Forman, Remy-Cointreau, Moet Hennessy and Beam Suntory. Dave Roberts, former chief executive of the National Clinical Homecare Association and previously head of communications at Wiltshire Health Authority, will head up the organisation.
It follows the recent publication of Chief Medical Officer guidelines featuring the controversial claim that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.
The AIP - which is entirely funded by the industry, just like Drinkaware - said its core focus is on the importance of reminding the public that the vast majority of people in the UK drink responsibly and that binge drinking is in decline, particularly among young people. Underage drinking is reducing and long–term harmful drinking is also failing.
Roberts said: “Alcohol misuse is an incredibly serious issue. As a society, we should continue to have rigorous debate about how best we continue to tackle and reduce alcohol misuse. But the debate has become increasingly imbalanced and characterised by poor representation of the evidence. Too often the facts have been dramatised or exaggerated in order to scare people and skew the debate. The reality is that binge drinking is in decline in the UK – particularly among young people – and the vast majority of people enjoy a drink responsibly.”
He added: “The Alcohol Information Partnership is here to being balance back to the debate and remind the public that having a drink at home or in the pub can still be a part of a balanced lifestyle as long as it is drunk in moderation.”
AIP will promote the current partnership approach taken to tackle alcohol misuse through coordinated action between Government, industry, Local Authorities and NGOs that focuses on education, enforcement and targeted initiatives. The AIP argues that the steady fall in alcohol misuse suggests this approach is producing results and more of what works should be encouraged.