Reducing harm caused by alcohol


Response to questions regarding AFS funding

Responding to questions raised in the press today (Wednesday 20 March) regarding funding for Alcohol Focus Scotland, Alison Douglas, CEO of AFS said:

“Alcohol Focus Scotland is an independent charity. For more than 30 years, regardless of which parties have been in government, we have been working to reduce alcohol harm and advocating in favour of evidence-based policies.

“Our priorities are guided by the World Health Organization (WHO), which recommends increasing the price of alcohol, restricting its marketing, and reducing its availability as the three most effective and cost-effective measures for reducing alcohol harm.

“Along with numerous other partners and public health experts across Scotland, the UK and internationally, our campaigning efforts resulted in cross party support for minimum unit pricing for alcohol in 2012.

“Since September 2021, AFS and our partners have been calling for the minimum unit price to be uprated to at least 65p per unit (ppu). We were critical of the Scottish Government’s failure to review and uprate the price after two years as they had initially committed to do. Last month, following more than two years of campaigning, the government finally brought forward legislation to increase the price to 65ppu.

“As part of an extensive array of other work, it is entirely appropriate and in line with our charitable aims to lobby decision makers to implement measures that reduce alcohol harm.

“Scotland has a severe alcohol problem which has a catastrophic impact on our health, families and communities. More than one in five of us currently drinks above the UK Chief Medical Officer’s low risk guidelines.

“That’s over one million Scots drinking at a level putting them at risk of severe health problems including liver disease and cancer, as well as unintentional harm or injury.

“Alcohol Focus Scotland is fully transparent with regard to our sources of funding, and this information has been and will remain freely available including via Companies House, without the need for Freedom of Information requests.

“The real conflict of interest is the role of alcohol industry funded organisations and charities in seeking to obstruct, delay and deflect from evidence-based policies that protect people and communities from alcohol harm. It is for this reason the WHO recommends the alcohol industry is excluded from the development of alcohol policy.”