The drinks industry has hit back at the Alcohol Health Alliance's plans to regulate the sector, insisting the group's proposals will not have any meaningful impact on tackling alcohol misuse.
The Alliance, which launches tomorrow (13 November), is made up of 21 health and temperance groups. It is calling for a 10% increase on alcohol tax as well as a 9pm advertising watershed.
It is also calling for greater regulation of the drinks industry, better prevention and treatment programmes, and compulsory warnings about alcohol's harmful effects to be included in any form of drink advertising or promotion.
The British Beer & Pub Association said it is challenging the "basic assumptions" at the heart of this campaign.
Chief executive Rob Hayward said: "We do not believe the evidence base supports their call for higher taxes, more regulation and health warnings.
"Indeed, these concerns are heightened because our experience from around the world strongly suggests that the measures this lobby group is seeking could make the situation worse.
David Poley, chief executive of the Portman Group, admitted that he shares the Alcohol Health Alliance's concerns, but argued that overall consumption of alcohol is falling.
"These positive trends are being eclipsed by increasing consumption levels among 11-15 year-olds who do drink. The focus should be on limiting their ability to buy alcohol and educating them about responsible drinking," he said.
"Considering taxing adult drinkers to stop children breaking the law is illogical. Especially as international comparisons prove that higher prices would not deter binge drinkers or people addicted to alcohol."
By Kerstin Kühn