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Local action leading the way

On 01/04/14 by Daisy Blench (Policy Manager - Responsibility)

The recent announcement by the Government of 20 Local Alcohol Action Areasto pilot solutions to tackle alcohol related harm have been met with general support from the industry but at a least some uncertainty of what the role of businesses should be.

However, as has already been seen through the commitments undertaken through the Public Health Responsibility Deal the industry has a great deal to offer and have signed up to a range of diverse pledges with far ranging and often creative actions to demonstrate their social responsibility and help contribute to the core commitment ‘to foster a culture of responsible drinking’.

Whether providing consistent information to consumers about units in their favourite drinks; providing appropriate health labelling on packaging; tackling underage sales; funding Drinkaware to educate people about responsible consumption; supporting partnership working in local communities or innovating to grow the lower alcohol beer category, the brewing industry continues to take its responsibilities seriously and will continue to challenge itself to do more.

However, work in the LAAAs will be a very different ballgame. Although signs show that the key trends nationally are moving in the right direction with reductions in underage drinking, harmful drinking, alcohol related deaths and alcohol related crime the picture at a local level is more varied with certain areas still coming higher than average on key harm indicators and a strong local desire to find solutions to problems.

With a diverse range of areas from Scarborough to Weston Super Mare selected as LAAAs, strategies will necessarily be tailored to the needs of the area and key objectives will vary. With public health now also a responsibility of local authorities, this will further add to the diversity of local ambitions and aims.

The pub and brewing industry has already been supporting partnership based solutions for some time and the schemes such as Pubwatch, Best Bar None, Community Alcohol Partnerships and Purple Flag have been making a difference in local areas in tackling a range of issues and helping to promote a diverse, safe evening and night time economy.

Whether it be providing support for the work of the national schemes, raising awareness amongst employees or providing local knowledge and input into the development of local alcohol strategies and action plans despite the challenges it is important that the industry get involved with an active role as an equal partner with local stakeholders and demonstrate what can be achieved with coordinated and targeted local action.


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