Sensible drinking body the Portman Group is to shed many of its responsibilities, including campaigning and education, and they are to be taken on by charity group the Drinkaware Trust.
The move, which will see registered charity the Drinkaware Trust take control of all future advertising campaigns to reduce alcohol consumption, has been made to make initiatives more transparent.
The Portman Group, a non-for-profit organisation run by a council consisting of the UK's drink producing chiefs, has been heavily criticised for not being independent and too reliant on the drinks companies which fund it.
But as a registered charity it is hoped the Drinkaware Trust, set up as an extension of the Portman Group following the Government's national alcohol harm reduction strategy produced two year ago, will escape the trappings of its predecessor.
It will be tasked with running local and national alcohol education, including leaflet distribution - such as education packs for schools - and advertising, though major TV ad campaigns are unlikely.
The Portman Group's functions will be reduced significantly but will still be responsible for drinks policy and codes of practice.
However the Trust has already come under fire, with some suggesting the body may not be independent enough, in terms of trustee selection, and will be woefully under-funded.
Instead of having a budget at its disposal of £20m-plus, which experts say is the minimum needed to begin to tackle the UK's existing drink problem, the Portman Group proposes that the budget be £3m in year one, £4m in year two and £5m in year three.
Most of this money is expected to come from the drinks industry, with additional funds from external sources including the National Lottery and the European Union.
By Jim Butcher
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