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Published:  23 July, 2008

The Director of the Wine and Spirit Association (WSA), Quentin Rappoport, has criticised the Government for the delay in producing a co-ordinated strategy to combat alcohol misuse in England and Wales. Speaking at the British Retail Consortium conference, held on 13 March, an event looking at issues surrounding liquor licensing, smuggling and misuse of alcohol, he said: We are disappointed at the delay in strategy for England and Wales, but await with interest a consultation paper on the policies the Government is to propose. As an industry, the wine and spirit trade has no interest in selling alcohol to those who misuse it. Extra sales generated by those who drink to excess are insignificant when compared to sales made to those who drink sensibly, and it is a source of revenue that the trade neither wants nor encourages.' The Government announced it was to produce a National Alcohol Misuse Strategy, bringing together different Government departments to tackle the problem, in 1998. So far, only the Scottish Parliament has finalised plans. Although the industry (together with the Portman Group) is continuing to take steps to minimise misuse, Rappoport highlighted the importance of co-operation between the Government and the trade in promoting sensible drinking. It would be far better to do this in the context of a national strategy, so we can be sure that we are tackling what the Government sees as the priority issues,' he said.