Responsibility Deal Alcohol Network

Department of Health written question – answered on 27th April 2016.

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Photo of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow Spokesperson (Equalities and Women's Issues)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will give details of progress made by the Alcohol Network of the Public Health Responsibility Deal, including (1) reports on its last meeting, (2) plans for future meetings, and (3) an analysis of the fulfilment made of pledges provided by contributors.

Photo of Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town Shadow Spokesperson (Business, Innovation and Skills), Shadow Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow Spokesperson (Equalities and Women's Issues)

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will give details of progress made by all the networks of the Public Health Responsibility Deal, including future plans and a description of the outcomes obtained.

Photo of Lord Prior of Brampton Lord Prior of Brampton The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health

The action notes and papers from the last alcohol network group meeting, which took place on 5 November 2014 are attached. There are no current plans for any of the Responsibility Deal networks to meet, but the Department continues to engage with key stakeholders in each of these sectors as part of its routine policy activity.

On alcohol, 1.3 billion units of alcohol were removed from the market through improving consumer choice of lower alcohol products, exceeding the target two years ahead of schedule. 101 companies pledged to have 80% of their bottles and cans of alcoholic drinks displaying unit content, the previous Chief Medical Officer’s lower-risk guidelines and a warning about drinking when pregnant by the end of 2013. An independent report (2014) found that 79.3% of labels provided all these three elements correctly, with 92.8% providing correct pregnancy information. The pledge was considered to be met.

On food, around 75% of the retail market and 65% of major high street restaurants and contract caterers have committed to reduce salt. This includes all the major supermarkets, many big manufacturing brands, restaurant chains and contract caterers. 43 companies, including major retailers, fast food and pubs and caterers, as well as the makers of household-name brands are taking a range of actions to help us to consume fewer calories, including through reducing the sugar content of sugar sweetened beverages. 45 major out of home businesses are currently displaying calories on their menus to help consumers make informed choices when eating outside the home, and account for approximately a quarter of all out of home meals served. 23 businesses agreed to adopt the voluntary United Kingdom front of pack nutrient labelling scheme accounting for two thirds of the market for pre-packed foods and drinks.

Employees in a wide range of companies are seeing their health and well-being taken more seriously as more and more organisations (over 500) signed up to the health at work pledges. The focus was on making occupational health more about prevention, as well as looking at improving the management of people with chronic health conditions, the workplace environment, healthier canteen food, encouraging more active travel and helping staff to give up smoking. Over 80 construction firms signed up to the health at work pledges representing over 250,000 employees. Construction is the UK’s largest industry employing 2 million workers, 6% of the entire workforce. It is also the unhealthiest industry. Construction workers are at least 100 times more likely to die from a disease caused or made worse by their work than they are to die from a fatal accident. These diseases are all preventable. This was the first sector-specific health at work pledge.

Working behind the scenes and reaching into the heart of communities, many businesses and organisations – around 300 - made pledges to help get more people, of all ages and backgrounds, more active. Through the physical activity workplace pledge, we estimate 1.5 million more people are now supported to be more active than before in their workplaces.

On 11 March 2016 the Department let all partners know that they will not need formally to report on the progress of the pledges that they have signed up to by submitting their annual updates this year. The Department has not separately analysed the annual reports submitted by partners to date.

This Government has renewed priorities and it is considering how best to work with partners and other stakeholders to deliver those. This includes tackling childhood obesity and wider work on diabetes and prevention.

The Department will keep all partners informed of any developments on the Responsibility Deal whilst the Government is considering how it should best work with industry to deliver its new priorities. In the meantime, the Government expects that all partners will want to continue to work towards the commitments they have already made and welcomes the fact that many organisations have continued to announce significant new commitments.

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