The ALMR has expressed its concern regarding the APPG’s inquiry into alcohol harms and called for the Group to work more closely with the on-trade and adopt a balanced approach to alcohol.
ALMR Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “We are disappointed that the APPG’s inquiry doesn’t take more of a balanced approach and fails to acknowledge the wider economic benefits or the hard work the sector has been undertaking. We are concerned that the inquiry is adopting a default position that alcohol is, per se, a negative influence. Pubs, bars and nightclubs are vital sources of revenue for their local areas and their economic contribution should not be discounted.
“There also needs to be a distinction between the highly regulated, supervised environment of the on-trade and the unregulated world of off-trade alcohol. As we have seen this week, large numbers of people in London gathering illegally and consuming cheap off-trade alcohol have caused problems for the emergency services. We have consistently argued that the best place for people to enjoy themselves is in the safe, supervised environment of a pub or nightclub; a distinction that should be noted by the inquiry.
“Extra top-down pressures on the on-trade will only have the effect of pushing more customers away from the supervised environment of a pub, towards the unregulated, pocket-money-priced alcohol of supermarkets. This is presumably the last thing the inquiry wants. Greater engagement with the on-trade, to discover the ways in which we are contributing to local economies, will enable us to more effectively tackle the issue of alcohol-related harm.”