UK Politics

Pubs 'should reveal alcohol calories'

Beer taps

Pub and bar owners should provide warnings on the health dangers of alcohol or be denied a licence, a parliamentary committee has heard.

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon and Cornwall, said customers should know "what they are doing to their body".

Landlords should provide details of the calories in drinks and the impact of heavy drinking "over time", she said.

Labour's Lord Davies of Stamford said it was "unclear" how this would work.

The exchange came in a hearing staged by the House of Lords Licensing Act 2003 Committee, looking at the effect of that piece of legislation - which allowed 24-hour drinking in England and Wales - and how it might be improved.

The act says councils have to look at issues of crime and disorder, public safety, prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm when granting or denying licences.

Cigarette packets

Ms Hernandez told peers that health should be another consideration: "Local authorities are responsible for public health now. It's moved from the NHS, so local authorities should be including that in their day-to-day decision-making anyway."

She said: "It's about individuals understanding what they are doing to themselves, to their bodies, to their health. There's a responsibility on the licensees, I would argue, or there should be under this objective, to make people aware.

"Just like we have on cigarette packets exactly what happens to you if you choose to smoke, it should say what happens to you if you choose to drink - and if you choose to drink to a certain amount, what that might have.

"It might be calories. It might be 'this is the amount of calories you are taking in'.

"It might be public health information service that says the impact of sustained drinking over time. It may be that it affects the cost of the alcohol sale."

But Lord Davies was sceptical, admitting that previous public health campaigns on sugar consumption and smoking had worked, but wondering how landlords could do the same for alcohol.

He said: "It's quite unclear to me how they would apply a public health criterion in [granting licences]... It's the wrong instrument."

The 2003 Licensing Act came into force in 2005.

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