The future of the government’s Responsibility Deal has been plunged into even further doubt after the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) announced it was pulling out in protest at U-turns over minimum pricing and plain packaging of cigarettes.
The move, announced on Friday, follows a walk-out by a string of NGOs, including the Faculty of Public Health, Cancer Research UK and the UK Health Forum, and leaves the Deal largely dominated by representatives from the food and drink industry.
The Grocer reported last week that other groups were considering leaving the Deal with insiders now questioning whether it can continue.
“We are very disappointed that the government has failed to move forward with the introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol and standardised packaging of tobacco products”
Dr Janet Atherton, ADPH
“We are very disappointed that the government has failed to move forward with the introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol and standardised packaging of tobacco products,” said ADPH president Dr Janet Atherton.
“The ADPH executive has considered its position with regard to involvement with the Responsibility Deal – and has concluded that it should withdraw from involvement with the Responsibility Deal in its entirety.”
One public health director told The Grocer the Responsibility Deal was “almost completely worthless”.
Atherton said the organisation would now be calling for Scottish-style regulation.
“We commend the approach being taken by the Scottish Government, which has listened to its advisors and intends to pursue measures – such as minimum unit pricing for alcohol and standardised packaging for tobacco products - that will contribute to reducing alcohol and tobacco-related harm and improve public health in Scotland.”
Although cited by health groups as one reason for quitting, minimum unit pricing and plain tobacco packs were never part of the Responsibility Deal, which launched in 2011.