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The Government has confirmed that it is not planning to publish an alcohol strategy.
The question was raised by Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe in the House of Lords this week (21 January 2020) seeking clarification from the Government on its plans to produce an effective strategy for dealing with alcohol abuse in 2020.
On behalf of the Government, The Minister of State for the Home Office, Baroness Williams of Trafford, said that the Government was “working to reduce alcohol-related harms with the NHS long-term plan, the prevention Green Paper, support for children of alcohol-dependent parents and action to tackle alcohol-related violent crime.”
This work Baroness Williams said “...constitutes an effective package to address alcohol abuse. We are not planning a stand-alone strategy.”
Lord Brooke further challenged the Government on this saying that “Last year the Government were moved to produce a strategy on drugs, which hopefully will be effective. However, the problems with drugs are minimal compared to the problems with alcohol. Does the Minister recall that in 2011, the coalition Government produced a widely welcomed strategy on alcohol? It fell apart in 2015, primarily because the Government could not carry the drinks industry with them. We had a responsible deal which proved to be irresponsible. Are we not going to face the same problems again? Unless the Government bring the threads together to produce a strategy with real teeth, nothing will change.”
Whilst the Government maintained its view that no stand-alone strategy will be forthcoming, Baroness Williams did say that the following measures would:
• electronic monitoring of alcohol abstinence requirements for those whose offending is fuelled by alcohol
• Public Health England is monitoring how minimum-unit pricing has worked in Scotland and considering the impact of such a policy