Portman Group Responds to Public Health England’s Alcohol Review

02/12/2016

Portman Group Responds to Public Health England’s Alcohol Review
02 December 2016
46-16

 Alcohol consumption and misuse:

“This lengthy report does not contain any new policy ideas, nor does it fully reflect the significant declines in harmful drinking in the last decade. It is deeply concerning that Public Health England are also contradicting the government’s own figures on alcohol consumption. Today we drink about the same amount of alcohol as we did 40 years ago, not ‘twice as much’ as Public Health England claim. Furthermore, alcohol consumption in the UK peaked in 2004, not 2008 as this report suggests.

Official government statistics show significant declines in binge drinking, harmful drinking, underage drinking, alcohol-related crime, drink-driving and declines in alcohol-related hospital admissions among the under 18s and under 40s. This indicates alcohol policy is on the right track and is consistent and proportionate.

There is no doubt that there are still communities that suffer disproportionately from alcohol-related harms, as this report recognises, and that harms are particularly prevalent amongst those in the lowest socio-economic groups. This is where targeted support should be provided through strong partnerships between public, private and third sector organisations.”

 Alcohol Marketing & Self-regulation

“This report makes outdated, unjustified and incorrect assumptions about the regulation of alcohol marketing in the UK, including failing to acknowledge the existence of codes that govern alcohol sponsorship. In the UK there is a comprehensive, joined-up system of self-regulation that ensures alcohol is not marketed to children or promoted in an irresponsible way. These robust rules have been in place for 20 years, are updated frequently, and have resulted in the removal of over 150 irresponsible products from the market. It is disappointing that during this evidence review, Public Health England made no attempt to contact the industry regulators to understand how this effective self-regulatory system works.”

 
Henry Ashworth
Chief Executive, Portman Group

 

NOTES TO EDITORS:

 Alcohol trends in the UK:

Alcohol Consumption:

  • In the last decade alcohol consumption has fallen by 18%.  (HMRC, BBPA)
  • Today, the UK drinks less alcohol than 16 other European countries: Germany, France, Portugal, Ireland , Poland, Slovenia, Luxembourg, Croatia, Finland, Latvia, Serbia, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Lithuania (World Health Organisation)

Drinking patterns:

  • On average, 76% of adults (84% of women and 68% of men) do not exceed low risk guidelines - 14 units per week (HSCIC)
  • Harmful drinking (more than 9 units for women or 12 units for men in a single occasion) has fallen by 22% since 2005 (ONS)
  • Overall, binge drinking (more than 6 units for women or 8 units for men in a single occasion) has fallen by 14% since 2005. Binge drinking among the 16-24 and 25-44 age groups has fallen 33% and 20% respectively. (ONS)
  • Overall, the proportion of adults drinking in the last week has declined by 9% since 2005. (ONS)
  • The proportion of adults who drank on five or more days in the last week has declined by 33% since 2005. (ONS)

Underage Drinking:

  • The proportion of children (11-15 years old) who have had an alcoholic drink has declined 38% since 2004 (HSCIC)
  • In the last decade, the proportion of secondary school pupils who thought it was OK to try alcohol has fallen by 28%  (HSCIC)
  • In the last decade, the proportion of secondary school pupils who thought it was OK to get drunk has fallen by 42% (HSCIC)

 Alcohol-related crime:

  • The number of violent incidents committed by offenders perceived to be under the influence of alcohol has fallen by 40% since 2007. (ONS)
  • The proportion of people witnessing alcohol-related anti-social behaviour has fallen 18% since 2011/12 (since data collection began) (ONS)
  • The proportion of people who found alcohol-related anti-social behaviour to be a ‘very’ or ‘fairly big’ problem in their area has fallen by 25% since 2005/6. (ONS)

 Drink Driving:

  • The total number of drink driving casualties (slight, serious and killed) has fallen by 52% since 2004. (DfT)
  • The number of drink-driving deaths has fallen by 85% since 1979 (DfT)
  • The total number of drink driving accidents (slight, serious and killed) has fallen by 50% since 2004. (DfT)