By Daniel Hunter

Controls on alcohol prices and promotions will not address the causes of irresponsible drinking but they do set a dangerous precedent for Government interference in markets in the future.

Reacting to the Government's Alcohol Strategy proposals for England and Wales, published today (Wednesday), the British Retail Consortium (BRC) stressed retailers are already hugely engaged in action that is making a difference; including funding the Drinkaware campaign, using Challenge 25 to prevent underage sales and putting unit labelling on products to help people regulate their drinking.

"Most major retailers believe minimum pricing and controls on promotions are unfair to most customers. They simply penalise the vast majority, who are perfectly responsible drinkers, while doing nothing to reduce irresponsible drinking," British Retail Consortium Food Director Andrew Opie said.

"Harmful drinking has cultural causes and retailers are tackling those with collaborative working on clear labelling and targeted awareness campaigns that help customers drink responsibly. Where's the evidence that imposing a blanket measure that puts up prices for all customers will make a difference?

"Most people already drink less than recommended limits. There is no reason why they should be denied access to discounts.

"The Government should recognise the role of personal responsibility. It should not allow interfering in the market to regulate prices and promotions to become the default approach for public health policy."

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