The government’s schizophrenic attitude towards alcohol is enough to drive the industry to drink!

On the one hand, it gave its backing this week to two significant and forward-thinking initiatives to encourage consumption of healthier products.

Ministers persuaded the Portman Group to revise its alcohol guidelines, which perversely currently bar companies from making a virtue of lower- alcohol products.

” The government’s attitude to alcohol is enough to drive the industry to drink”

It also paved the way for changes to labelling rules to allow producers to better market reduced-alcohol products, perhaps with the aid of a new Health logo. As health secretary Jeremy Hunt rightly said, collaboration with the industry could achieve things that regulation never could.

Yet at the same time, government lawyers are busy drawing up plans for a minimum pricing clampdown that looks guaranteed to plunge the government into years of legal battles with exactly the same “partners”.

Co-operating one day, in court the next. Sounds like a cocktail recipe for disaster.