What's more, the pub is the only environment where alcohol service and consumption is controlled. The more pubs we lose, the more people will drink at home and in unsupervised situations thus creating even bigger problems leading on to associations with drugs and anti-social behaviour. Frankly, the ramifications of the BMA's recommendations are extremely worrying.
Ferndale, WA (PRWeb UK) September 18, 2009
In response to the BMA report "Under the Influence," Neil Robertson, Chief Executive of BII, the professional body for the licensed retail industry, commented: "The proposals made in last week's report are 'sledgehammer to crack a nut' approaches again, as we see so often from academic institutions and the medical profession, who appear to be rather misguided and ill-informed.
"Where is the evidence to support their claims? We already know that tax increases and changes in licensing hours do not bring down consumption rates so how is this going to help? The report states that alcohol consumption has rapidly increased in recent years. This is simply incorrect - the BBPA's Statistical Handbook gives figures compiled with HM Revenue & Customs that show consumption fell in 2008 and is 6.1% lower than in 2004.
"The medics need to remember that a lot of pubs sell more food than drink and that they provide a valuable resource to communities. We've said it time and time again; the pub is often the social hub of a town or village and closing it has far-reaching implications.
"Draconian measures of the sort suggested would shut between 5,000 and 10,000 pubs in the UK resulting in a further 100,000 people out of work. The extent of poor health associated with unemployment is well documented so the end result of the BMA's recommendations would be an increase in poor health rather than an improvement. How can they justify that?!
"What's more, the pub is the only environment where alcohol service and consumption is controlled. The more pubs we lose, the more people will drink at home and in unsupervised situations thus creating even bigger problems leading on to associations with drugs and anti-social behaviour. Frankly, the ramifications of the BMA's recommendations are extremely worrying."
BII strongly objects to the remark that 'industry funded health education has served the needs of the alcohol industry, not public health'.
Neil continued: "We firmly believe - and always have done - that education is the key to the cultural change that the report calls for. And education begins at a young age. The BII Schools Project and the associated BIIAB Level 1 Certificate in Alcohol Awareness, which are widely supported by the industry, were established specifically to address this. Over 6,400 candidates have been through the Certificate in Alcohol Awareness to date and initial findings from evaluation of the qualification reveal very positive results:
- 78% of course graduates agree or strongly agree that, if they choose to drink, they are more likely to be a responsible drinker as a result of the course
- 61% agree or strongly agree that, if they choose to drink, they are less likely to binge drink as a result of the course
"The BMA report goes one step further to suggest that the UK Governments move away from partnership with the alcohol industry and look at alternatives to self-regulation. A recommendation based on a view by the BMA Board of Science that partnership working has allowed the industry to 'co-opt the public health agenda'. This is a naïve and provocative claim and, in fact, there are many examples as to how partnership working has proved successful. Best Bar None is one such initiative and the St Neots Community Alcohol Partnership is another.
"The report also recommends that a compulsory levy is introduced on the alcohol industry, which will help to fund an independent public health body to oversee alcohol-related research, health promotion and policy advice. Our response to this is simple: the industry does not need yet another body! The public are already confused by existing health messages (is the safe level of units 14 or 21 per week, for example?). Adding another body with a further set of messages will only add to this confusion and do more harm than good.
"Oh and it's worth noting that a survey by YouGov earlier this year for the Department of Health's own 'Know Your Limits' campaign found that men and women in the health profession (including doctors and nurses, etc) consume on average 26 units of alcohol per week. When you consider that Department of health guidelines suggest no more than 24 units a week for a man and 14 units for a woman, this makes for interesting reading……"
Notes to Editors:
A registered charity, BII is the professional body for the licensed retail sector. Its members are tenants, lessees, managers and freeholders of outlets licensed to sell alcohol for consumption both on and off the premises, plus many individuals and companies which support the industry in a variety of ways. It also has 55 corporate patrons, members and supporters. BII's mission is to promote high standards of professionalism throughout the licensed retail sector; to encourage new entrants into the industry, and to help them develop their long-term careers.
BII has achieved the ISO9001:2000 quality standard, Investors in People and was listed in the 'one to watch' category of the Sunday Times 'Best Companies to Work For' survey in 2008.
Wholly-owned by BII, BIIAB is the leading awarding body for the licensed retail sector. BIIAB is accredited by Ofqual and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). Over 1.5 million BIIAB qualifications have been processed so far.
For more information, visit http://www.bii.org.
For further information please contact:
Michelle Luscombe, BII Corporate Communications Manager
# # #