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Alcohol action scheme launched for local areas

The government has appointed 20 ‘Local Alcohol Action Areas’ (LAAAs) to help combat the damage alcohol can cause to people’s health, and to cut alcohol-driven crime.

The areas will develop strategies to combat crime and disorder, and will receive support and expertise from the Home Office, Department of Health, the Welsh Government, Public Health England (PHE) and Public Health Wales (PHW).

LAAAs will benefit from mentor areas that have successfully tackled the same issues with alcohol and licensing authorities, health bodies and the police will work together to reduce the harmful impacts of alcohol.

Crime prevention minister Norman Baker said: “The coalition government is taking a wide range of action to tackle alcohol-related harm, which is thought to cost society around £21bn a year.

“We have already given local areas the power to restrict the sale of alcohol in the early hours and ensure those who profit from a late night licence help pay towards the costs of policing.

“The Local Alcohol Action Areas project I am launching today is another measure designed to tackle the problems caused by excessive alcohol use.

“In addition I am pressing the industry itself to take more responsibility for the problems that inappropriate use of their products cause.”

Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at PHE said: “Public Health England welcomes the launch of the Local Alcohol Action Areas and we are particularly pleased to see that most have chosen to include reducing alcohol related health harms as a key aim of their projects.

“Local areas have a range of measures at their disposal to improve individual and public health, as well as community safety. Between them, the areas announced today have the potential to build strong evidence of what works to tackle alcohol harms in the community.”

The LAAAs are:

Blackpool; Croydon; Doncaster; Gloucester City; Gravesham; Greater Manchester; Halton; Hastings; Liverpool; Middlesbrough; Newham; Northamptonshire; Nottinghamshire;Pembrokeshire; Scarborough; Slough Borough; Southend on Sea; Stoke on Trent; Swansea; Weston super Mare.

Julian Cox, head of research at New Economy, a think tank for Greater Manchester’s economic growth, said: “By appointing Greater Manchester as a Local Alcohol Action Area, national government is acknowledging that we have the means in place to tackle the negative effects of alcohol on our economy.  

“The strategy we are developing will further complement the wider aims of Home Office and intends to bring together the expertise and strengths of all Greater Manchester’s key partners whom are currently working across projects within this complex field.”       

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