Tag Archives: public health

How minimum unit pricing for alcohol almost happened in England and what this says about the political dynamic of the UK

hawkinsBenjamin Hawkins

The UK Government’s Alcohol Strategy (GAS), published in March 2012, unexpectedly included a commitment to introduce minimum unit pricing (MUP) for alcohol in England, following the adoption of similar measures by the Scottish Government. Yet just 16 months later, the introduction of MUP was placed on hold indefinitely. Our recent article published in Policy and Politics seeks to explain how and why MUP came so unexpectedly onto the policy agenda in England, before disappearing just as suddenly, and what this tells us about the evolving political dynamics of post-devolution and post-Brexit Britain.

In Scotland, MUP passed into law at the second attempt in 2012 and came into force in 2018 following a six-year legal battle with the Scotch Whisky Association and other industry actors. The emergence of MUP as a viable policy option was, however, a ‘cross-border’ process with developments in Scotland inextricably linked to those ‘down South’, particularly the support for, and background work on, alcohol pricing within the Department of Health. Following its adoption in Scotland, a ’policy window’ opening in which MUP came onto the policy agenda in England also. However, this proved to be short lived. Our article argues that the success of MUP in Scotland and its failure in England can largely be explained in terms of the differing levels of political commitment to the policy in each context. Continue reading How minimum unit pricing for alcohol almost happened in England and what this says about the political dynamic of the UK

Talking public health

Katherine Smith
Katherine Smith

Policy & Politics talking public health in Milan last month with Editorial Advisory Board member Katherine Smith

In a session jointly sponsored by Policy & Politics and the University of Glasgow Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, leading international experts explored how public health professionals perceive the role of the alcohol, tobacco and food industries in shaping public policy. . The international panel of speakers, appearing at the 8th European Public Health Conference which took place in Milan on 14-17 October was chaired by Professor Oliver Razum, Dean of the School of Public Health at Bielefeld University, Germany. It included Professor Nicholas Freudenberg of City University New York, Dr Lori Dorfman from the Berkeley Media Studies Group and the University of California, Berkeley, School of Public Health, Dr Benjamin Hawkins from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, Dr Heide Weishaar from the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow and Policy & Politics’ Editorial Advisory Board member Dr Kat Smith from the Global Public Health Unit, University of Edinburgh.   The session was organised by Heide and Kat along with Dr Shona Hilton of the MRC/CSO Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, University of Glasgow. This blog sums up the issues discussed and sets out an agenda for future research in this area.

Tobacco, alcohol and processed food industries – Why are they viewed so differently?
Tobacco, alcohol and processed food industries – Why are they viewed so differently?

One of the few indisputable truths in life is that we will all, eventually, die but what we will die of, and at what age, is changing across the world, with non-communicable diseases (NCDs) increasingly accounting for excessive morbidity and mortality burdens. The growing prevalence of NCDs is triggering substantial policy concern, evident, for example, in the 2011 UN high level meeting on NCDs. Yet, it is clear there are very different ways of thinking about this ‘epidemiological transition’: it has been framed, on the one hand, as a consequence of the choices that individuals make and, on the other, as a consequence of the strategies Continue reading Talking public health