Business Chiefs Writing UK Alcohol Policy

The UK Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, has found himself at the centre of a row after a decision was made to include high ranking businessmen from the fast food, soft drink and alcohol industries in the UK health policy writing procedure. In exchange for the roles in these new “responsibility deals”, the industry leaders would privately finance the public health campaigns. The ‘responsible’ teams will be chaired by Ministers and contain other representatives of public interest and consumer groups, but the important roles have all gone to less than desirable leaders. For example: the Chair of the alcohol focus responsibility network – is also (in his spare time we assume) Head of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association. On the board for the food focussed network is a representative of Compass, the group made famous by Jamie Oliver exposing their choice of Turkey Twizzlers for UK school dinners. It was not a thousand years ago that the Health Select Committee Alcohol Inquiry found that policies, put in place in the UK to tackle our growing relationship with alcohol, were for the most part ineffective – for the main reason that the alcohol industry held to much sway over government. It would appear that this state of affairs is to continue, the voice of reason being slowly drowned out.

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