Wednesday, 11 June 2008


There is much concern at the moment about alcohol. Yesterday my former MP, and good friend, Sally Keeble used the 10 minute rule bill procedure to highlight some of her concerns. She told the Commons about her Bill "."to regulate prices charged for units of alcoholic drinks; to regulate point of sale promotions, advertising and labelling of alcoholic drinks; to establish an industry council to administer the regulation of prices and promotions; and for connected purposes

"The Bill aims to tackle a growing and deeply damaging phenomenon in society: the widespread abuse of alcohol and, in particular, binge drinking. It is a phenomenon that we all see in our constituencies. We see the price that our communities pay in terms of ill health, crime, damage to young people and their education and, ultimately, damage to the economy. Last year a Cambridge university study put the total economic cost of economic misuse at £33.2 billion a year, including £3.2 billion in health costs.

Alcohol misuse is an issue that we have considered frequently in the House, but so far we have tended to focus on the role of pubs and clubs. The Bill concentrates on the role of the retail industry, both supermarkets and smaller shops. There has been a growing awareness of the role of the retail trade in alcohol misuse, but there is now also a growing sense of public anger—expressed just this weekend by the chief constable of Nottinghamshire—at the deep discounting of alcohol which has caused beer to sell more cheaply than water...". Her full speech can be read in Hansard. The House agreed to the introduction of the bill without dissent.

In the House of Lords the "Alcohol Labelling Bill" will be considered (Report Stage) in the dinner break. Details of the bill may be found at http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2007-08/alcohollabellinghl.html

On Monday 23rd June Lord Avebury will "ask Her Majesty’s Government what further adjustments they will make to their alcohol harm reduction strategy, following the publication of NHS Statistics on Alcohol: England, 2008."