Time to trust pubs and bars on drinking
3 March, 2013
Pubs and bars are well placed to promote sensible drinking, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers has argued, after yet more disputed criticism of drinking levels in the UK.
The release of a study from University College London late last week, claiming that levels of excessive drinking may be higher than thought, was swiftly rebuffed by the ALMR. Strategic affairs director Kate Nicholls said: “If Britons are bingeing then they are bingeing on sobriety. Against every measure—not just self-reported behaviour—consumption is down and the sales data is clear and unequivocal. As a nation, over the past decade, the amount of alcohol bought and consumed in this country is down by just under 8%.”
She pointed out that sales through the off-trade had soared, while licensed premises like pubs and bars had headed the other way. That means that if anyone is to blame for problem drinking, it is the supermarkets who fuel heavy drinking at home—and that should make everyone realise that pubs and bars can be much more responsible than their off-trade counterparts.
Nicholls said: “What is clear is that if we want to make sure that people are clear about the units they are consuming and that the measures they are being poured are accurate, then we need to encourage people back into pubs to drink in a supervised and responsible retail environment. If we are serious about promoting public health and tackling alcohol related harms then politicians, the alcohol charities and the trade need to work in partnership to achieve that “
* The ALMR has also called for better partnerships between businesses and police, following the kickstarting of plans in Lincolnshire to charge late-night operators for the installation of a new CCTV system. Nicholls said: “We would be interested to see evidence that supports the suggestion that street security is a night time problem. CCTV cameras have an important role to play in ensuring safety and security throughout the day and evening and are a vital aid to policing of all types of crime. This is not about policing the night time economy, it is about the safety of the general public as they shop and go about their daily lives. To suggest that one small segment of business bear the full cost of a general security system which benefits all is naive and unhelpful.” She added: “What we know does work is a genuine partnership approach where the police, local authority and trade sit down together and work out priorities, problems and how to pay for solutions. A top down approach which tells business how their money will be spent will fail.”
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