In response to your article on Tesco and Asda's plans to address alcohol problems, if policy were determined by responding to headlines alone, the prohibition of alcohol would surely be on its way ('Supermarkets try to avoid ending up in the drink', The Grocer, 1 March, p30). The Budget is looming, and the Chancellor cannot have missed calls for significant alcohol tax hikes in an attempt to tackle alcohol misuse. These calls are misguided. Generally speaking, the media provides a totally unbalanced picture of alcohol consumption, which has been falling for the past couple of years. We hear claims that 24-hour licensing has led to 24-hour drinking but this is not the case. Only 1% of the 177,000 licensed premises have 24-hour licensing. Nor do we hear about the advantages of new flexible closing times - as pubs and bars no longer all shut their doors at 11pm, city centres are less crowded. Any tax increase would seriously undermine government attempts to fight inflation. We already expect consumers will have to pay more to cover rising raw materials, transport and energy costs, and some companies have estimated the price of a bottle of wine could increase by 50p-£1. Any increase in duty would merely add to inflationary pressure. The industry will continue to work with government, councils and police to increase awareness of unit guidelines and deter underage sales. But we also need the commitment of central and local government, police, parents and individuals to do their part so that the misdeeds of the minority are not paid for by the sacrifices of the majority.