BBPA and WSTA defend UK drinking record

UK: Trade bodies Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) and the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) have denied that UK alcohol consumption is rising.

The announcements followed a report on alcoholic deaths by The Lancet which said “few can doubt that there is a particular problem in the UK”, and “liver death rates more than doubled from 4·9 to 11·4 [per 100,000] since 1986”.

WSTA’s spokesman Gavin Partington said: "It is regrettable that the various projections take no account of the most recent government data showing a continued fall in consumption of alcohol and a decline in the number of deaths from alcohol related illnesses.”

While BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “Since 2005, UK alcohol consumption per head has fallen by almost eleven per cent.”

The report also suggested that the government is too close to the alcohol industry and “lacks clear aspiration to reduce the impact of cheap, readily available, and heavily marketed alcohol on individuals and on society”.

Simmonds said: “Far from being too close to government, all alcohol producers have faced huge increases in tax and regulation in recent years.”

While Partington added: "The drinks industry is rightly playing a constructive role in discussions with other stakeholders as part of the government's public health responsibility deal.”