08 January 2010
The Church of England has today welcomed the report on Alcohol, published by the Commons Select Committee on Health.
The Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, Director of Mission and Public Affairs for the Archbishops' Council, said:
"This is an immensely significant landmark report, which brings into focus what the medical profession, public health researchers and those who work with people with alcohol problems have been saying for years. We agree with the Committee’s judgement that the Government's response to these issues to date "has ranged from the non-existent to the ineffectual" and endorse their call for it to listen more to the medical profession and less to the drinks and retail industry.
“As the Committee’s Report points out, while taxation of spirits has declined significantly in real terms and as a proportion of average earnings, consumption per head of alcohol in England has tripled since 1947, larger numbers of men and women are drinking hazardously or harmfully and deaths from liver cirrhosis have increased sharply.
“We therefore support the Select Committee's recommendations about minimum unit pricing and restrictions on availability as the most effective proven means of restricting consumption. We also endorse the thrust of their important recommendations on better education and information campaigns, mandatory labelling, regulation of alcohol promotion, alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour, licensing objectives and more effective healthcare interventions.
“The challenge to drink responsibly applies to every individual. But it is essential that major economic and cultural influences upon individual drinking should be clearly recognised, their harmful effects limited as far as practical, and positive influences mobilised to discourage damaging and anti-social behaviour.
“We look to Government and Parliament to respond speedily and positively to this important report."