News roundup: March 2018

Maddy Lawson | April 2018 | 8 minutes

March's monthly roundup from the Alcohol Policy UK blog.

Each month we publish a news roundup from the Alcohol Policy UK blog. Since the February roundup

In the news

Minimum Unit Pricing in Scotland just weeks away

Writing in the Scotsman, Alcohol Focus Scotland Chief Executive Alison Douglas said,

"The historic introduction of Minimum Unit ­Pricing (MUP) of ­alcohol is just weeks away and will mark a significant turning point in ­Scotland’s damaging relationship with drink. When this life-saving policy comes into effect on May 1, the positive impact on the nation’s health will be felt in a matter of months. In the first year alone, minimum pricing could prevent 60 ­alcohol-related deaths, 1,300 hospital admissions and 3,500 crimes, and those health and ­other benefits will build over time."

Read our blog explaining MUP, and for more see Alcohol Policy UK's MUP policy analysis.

… and in Wales MUP has passed its first hurdle

The plan to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol in Wales has passed its first hurdle, with Assembly members backing the general principle of the law in a vote in the Senedd. BBC

Licensing to be relaxed for Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding

The Home Office has confirmed that licensing hours in England and Wales will be relaxed for two days to mark Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. Pubs will be allowed to open until 1am on the nights of Friday 18 and Saturday 19 May. ITV News

New civil orders for domestic abusers

Domestic abusers could be electronically tagged and banned from drinking alcohol under new government proposals to “transform” the way domestic abuse is tackled in the UK. Unprecedented new civil orders will expand the potential restrictions courts and police can impose. Independent

Children of heavy drinking parents to receive new attention from Government

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt will put a minister in charge of helping children whose parents are alcohol dependent, and make the UK’s 2.5 million children of heavy drinking parents part of the Government’s mental health strategy. Data on the scale of the problem will reportedly be published in the coming weeks. Express

West Midlands to cut spending on reducing alcohol harm

Analysis of the regional budget by BirminghamLive reveals that most councils in the West Midlands metropolitan area are planning to cut their expenditure on treating, preventing and reducing alcohol-related harm in adults for 2017/18. Overall, spending across the region will be cut by £1.5m, from £12.2m in 2016/17 to £10.7m in 2017/18.

Consultation on labelling of low-alcohol drinks now open

A paper published by the Department of Health and Social Care includes details of a public consultation on low-alcohol product labelling, launched on 15 March and due to remain open until 10 May 2018. The regulations on how low alcohol (drinks with 1.2% ABV or less) should be described are due to expire on 13 December 2018. The Drinks Business

Read our blog on low-alcohol drinks labelling here.


Growing problem of alcohol and substance misuse among older people

New Royal College of Psychiatrists research highlights the growing problem of alcohol and substance misuse among older people. The number of alcohol-specific deaths in people aged 50 and over has risen 45% over the past 15 years according to Our Invisible Addicts, which also states that deaths related to poisoning from substances in older people have more than doubled over the past decade. Independent and Alcohol Policy UK analysis.

Supermarket and off-licence beer almost 188% more affordable than 30 years ago

A new briefing on alcohol affordability by the Institute of Alcohol Studies shows that beer sold in the UK’s supermarkets and off-licences is almost 188 per cent more affordable today than it was three decades ago, supporting calls for new legislation to reduce the pressure on health services. Affordability has risen by 22 per cent since 2012 alone. Independent

Research suggests new alcohol guidelines have had no effect on British drinking habits

A University of Sheffield study has found that new alcohol guidelines published in 2016 have had no discernible effect on British drinking habits. The Register

New research on alcohol dementia risk

Researchers from Oxford and Cardiff universities say adults who drink more than one unit a day are putting themselves at ‘significant risk’ of dementia. MailOnline

Almost four in ten cancers avoidable, says Cancer Research UK

New figures from Cancer Research UK show that almost four in 10 cancer cases are avoidable if British people changed their lifestyles by drinking less alcohol, keeping their weight down, ditching cigarettes and avoiding overdoing it on a sunbed, among other actions. Guardian

Drinking levels linked to availability for those on lower incomes

Researchers at Glasgow and Edinburgh universities have found those on the lowest incomes were more likely to drink too much if availability was high. They suggested the Scottish government should review the number of shops selling alcohol – particularly in areas of low income. BBC