After all the excitement of beer tax cuts and the scrapping of the duty escalator in in the Budget last week it was time for the celebratory corks to go back in the bottle and the alcohol industry to get back in the dock.

On Tuesday a report by the All-Party Parliamentary Hepatology Group attacked the “scandalous” lack of a government strategy to tackle preventable liver disease in the UK.

The MPs called for the re-introduction of plans for minimum unit pricing (MUP) but went a step further, suggesting a level of 50p per unit – 5p higher than the 45p per unit plans ditched a year ago. It also happens to be the level supported by a raft of health organisations still campaigning for MUP to be revived.

Whether the report is enough to reopen the door for the policy remains to be seen; all the indications are that the coalition has no plans to do so at all.

However, it was obvious from a coinciding event in Westminister that powerful sources within the Department of Health would dearly like that to happen.

On Tuesday, Rosanna O’Connor, director of alcohol and drugs at Public Health England (PHE), told the Westminster Social Policy Forum on the future of alcohol policy that one of its strategies was to “support the evidence base that MUP is effective”.

O’Connor told the event there was strong evidence that increases in the price of alcohol led to reduced consumption and said PHE planned to “have a much greater focus on alcohol” in its second year of operation.

She even went on to describe the 16% fall in alcohol consumption since 2004 as “a blip”.

Yet while it does seem scandalous that liver disease – uniquely among all the main killers – does not have a national strategy, other speakers at the event, both from the NGO community and from the drinks industry, suggested that rather than sweeping national strategies, the answer to tackling alcohol harm was to allow targeted local action, based on local evidence.

Eric Appleby, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, told event the key thing he wanted from government was to let “local mean local”.

Henry Ashworth – an unlikely ally, as chief executive of the Portman Group – told the event that while large areas, such as the North West, were recording severe problems with alcohol-related crime and health harms, the picture in other parts of the country was very different.

“It’s really clear that individual areas have individual circumstances. We do not have a simple national picture,” he said.

Some may cry it’s a cop-out, but with the demise of MUP, the government does appear to have decided that it is localism that will drive the national agenda on booze – not least because it doesn’t want to be seen to be enforcing a nanny state, especially when it hits people in the pocket.

Tuesday’s meeting suggested that even among the most fervent supporters of MUP, there is a feeling that local is best.

For more analysis on alcohol strategy, see this week’s issue of The Grocer.