Public health should be introduced as a fifth licensing objective, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Alcohol Misuse has said.
In its manifesto for 2015, the APPG said the move would enable local authorities to make licensing decisions based on local population health need and the density of existing outlets.
The group also called for a single government minister “with clear accountability” to be made responsible for the reduction of alcohol harms, a minimum unit price for alcoholic drinks to be introduced, and sobriety orders to be used widely “to break the cycle of alcohol and crime, antisocial behaviour and domestic violence”.
Other measures the APPG called on political parties to commit to included:
- Strengthened regulation of alcohol marketing to protect children and young people;
- Increased funding for treatment and raising access levels from 6% to 15% of problem drinkers;
- Prioritisation by commissioners of the delivery of Identification and Brief Advice. “Identification and Brief Advice should be delivered in a wide range of different settings including health care, involving GPs routinely asking questions, and in-workplace programmes”;
- Inclusion of a health warning on all alcohol labels and delivery of a government-funded national public awareness campaign on alcohol-related health issues;
- The introduction of mandatory training for all social workers, midwives and healthcare professionals on parental substance misuse, foetal alcohol syndrome disorder and alcohol-related domestic violence;
- Reduction in the blood alcohol limit for driving in England and Wales to 50mg/100ml, starting with drivers under the age of 21.
In the foreword, Tracey Crouch MP said these were some of the key points that the APPG believed should form the foundation of a future government’s Alcohol Strategy “and deal with the type of alcohol misuse which puts strain on our public services and ends lives all too prematurely”.
She added: “We accept that not everyone will agree with our proposals, but by publishing what we believe would be welcome policies for any future government to adopt in tackling this issue, we hope to inform and continue the debate on alcohol now and in the future.”