Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Charities and public health experts

The BBC's attack on alcohol really is relentless. I'd be surprised if a week goes by without at least one story on the subject. Here's the latest:

People should have at least two days a week completely clear of alcohol, a group of MPs says.

It is one of the recommendations in a report by the Commons science and technology committee, which is calling for a review of all government guidelines on alcohol in the UK.

It says there are "sufficient concerns" about the recommendations on how much people should drink.

The report has been welcomed by charities and public health experts.

Charities and public health experts, eh?

Prof Sir Ian Gilmore, from the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, said: "The main recommendation of setting up a review of evidence to come up with clear guidelines would be very valuable indeed."

If you read Christopher Snowdon's blog, that name will be familiar.

Alcohol Concern chief executive Eric Appleby said: "Accessible and reliable public information on alcohol harm is an essential element in tackling Britain's problem with alcohol misuse. However, the government must accept that information alone is insufficient.

A grassroots charity lobbying the government on behalf of concerned citizens? Not according to fakecharities.org:


Created by the British government in 1985, Alcohol Concern wages an incremental campaign against drinkers and the drinks industry.



Its 2008/09 accounts show a total income of £1,137,582, of which:

  • Department of Health (restricted grant): £142,000
  • Department of Health (unrestricted grant): £400,000
  • Big Lottery Fund: £127,275
  • Total £669,275 (58.8% of all income)

It received just £8,186 in public donations.

Who else has the BBC lined up?

Chris Sorek, chief executive of alcohol awareness charity Drinkaware, said: "Drinkaware welcomes the committee's recommendation for greater efforts on helping people understand the unit guidelines and how to use them.
Surely this is a real charity, funded by small donations from millions of concerned citizens. Nope:
Drinkaware is funded by donations from the alcohol industry.

Current funders include major retailers, pub companies and producers who have pledged approximately £5.2 million per year through to 2012. We work with a wide selection of organisations to tackle alcohol misuse, to lead education campaigns and develop corporate social responsibility campaigns.
Quite why the 'alcohol industry' is funding these neo-prohibitionists is anyone's guess. Perhaps someone at the Department of Health had a quiet word with them ...

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