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Lords question alcohol misuse experts on future EU alcohol strategy

The House of Lords Home Affairs, Health and Education EU Sub-Committee will question substance misuse experts, and representatives of drinks producers and advertisers on Wednesday 3 December, as part of its ongoing inquiry into the future EU Alcohol Strategy.

In its first session, at 10.30am, the Committee will hear from Henry Ashworth, Chief Executive of the Portman Group, the body responsible for drinks producers in the UK, whose members collectively account for more than half of the UK alcohol market. He will be joined in the session by Sue Eustace, Director of Public Affairs at the Advertising Association, an organisation comprising nearly 30 UK trade associations representing advertising, media and marketing. Issues the Committee is likely to discuss with the witnesses include:

  • their opinions on the relationship between alcohol marketing, alcohol consumption and misuse;
  • whether a new EU Alcohol Strategy should encourage policies restricting the marketing of alcohol as one of three most cost-effective measures of reducing alcohol-related harm, as suggested by the World Health Organisation;
  • how the alcohol and advertising industries respond to the findings of alcohol-related research projects; and
  • whether they think that a new Strategy should retain the same balance between regulation and voluntary commitments as the previous 2006-12 Strategy.

Following on, at 11:15am, the Committee will hear from Vivienne Evans OBE, Chief Executive of Adfam, the national umbrella organisation for children and families affected by someone else's substance misuse; and Adrian Brown, Alcohol Nurse Specialist at Northwick Park and Central Middlesex Hospitals.

The Committee will discuss a number of issues with Ms Evans and Mr Brown, including their views on:

  • how alcohol consumption affects families, particularly in regard to domestic violence, child abuse and neglect, and the sexual exploitation of young people;
  • the impact of alcohol use on the number – and nature – of admissions to A&E departments, and if there are similar problems in other EU countries;
  • whether increasing the price, or restricting the availability and advertising, of alcohol would have any impact on their client groups; and
  • whether there is a role for education and awareness-raising in reducing alcohol-related harm, and who such measures should target. 

The evidence sessions will take place from 10.30am, on Wednesday 3 December in Committee Room 3 of the House of Lords.

The sessions will be webcast at and are also open to the public. Journalists wishing to attend should go to Parliament's Cromwell Green Entrance and should allow time for security screening.

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