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What impact could the Commission on Alcohol Harm have on the alcohol industry in the coming months.

The Alcohol Health Alliance UK (AHA), a group of 50 non-governmental organisations who work in cooperation to promote evidence-based policies to reduce the harm caused by alcohol, have announced their support for a new Commission on Alcohol Harm, chaired by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff. (

The AHA was launched in 2007 and is chaired by Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, a leading professor of hepatology and special advisor on alcohol to the Royal College of Physicians. The AHA stresses that they do not have a view on drinking but campaigns for evidence-based policies to tackle the harms caused by alcohol, not for prohibition. They highlight that they are independent of the alcohol industry but work to:

  • highlight the rising levels of alcohol-related harm
  • propose evidence-based solutions to reduce this harm
  • influence decision-makers to take positive action to address the harm caused by alcohol

The Commission on Alcohol harm has been established to:

“examine the current evidence on alcohol harm, recent trends in alcohol harm and the changes needed to reduce the harm caused by alcohol…..[and] the need for a new comprehensive alcohol strategy for England, which takes account of the strategies in place in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, and considers UK-wide priorities in areas where policy is not devolved.”

The Commission will hold three oral evidence sessions in early 2020 and has launched a call for written evidence, with submissions welcomed before the deadline of 12.00 noon on 17 February 2020.

The Commission on Alcohol Harm welcomes written submissions addressing one or more of the following questions:

  • What evidence has emerged since 2012 on alcohol’s impact on:

        -Physical health?

        -Mental health?

  • What impact does alcohol have on the NHS and other public services?
  • What challenges do alcohol treatment services currently face in supporting people impacted by alcohol harm?
  • What recent evidence is there of impacts caused by alcohol consumption on family life, relationships and sexual behaviour?
  • What data exists to show alcohol’s current impact on different demographic groups, including age, sex and social class?
  • What impact does alcohol have on economic productivity and is there evidence of this changing since 2012?
  • What current evidence is there of links between alcohol and violent behaviour and other crime?
  • What recent evidence is there of links between alcohol and other addictive behaviours (such as smoking, drug use and gambling)?
  • What effect does the current approach to alcohol marketing and licensing have on alcohol harm?
  • What policy changes would help to reduce the level of harm caused by alcohol? Are there policy responses from other governments (including within the UK) that have been successful in reducing harms caused by alcohol that could be implemented in the UK?

Written evidence should be submitted as a single Microsoft Word document attached to an email and state clearly who the submission is from, and whether it is sent in a personal capacity or on behalf of an organisation. They should be no more than 2,500 words in length and provide references when citing evidence from other sources.

Written evidence received by the Commission on Alcohol Harm will form the basis for the final report and can be submitted at

We will continue to report on the progress of the commission and the recommendations it ultimately makes.