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Charity funding study brings alcohol industry influence on UK policy into question
Date:6/13/2014

Five charities in the UK are both active in alcohol policy processes and funded by the alcohol industry, according to a new study published in the European Journal of Public Health.

The study, carried out by researchers at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, looks at the relationships between the alcohol industry, charities and policy influence in the UK.

Two of the charities, Addaction and Mentor UK, are the only remaining non-industry, non-governmental members of the Public Health Responsibility Deal's alcohol network the UK government's initiative to work collaboratively with the alcohol industry for public health policy making. All other public health interest groups resigned from the network, mostly due to concerns over industry influence on policy, and the decision not to implement minimum unit pricing last year.

Senior author Dr Jim McCambridge of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said: "Our work raises interesting questions about the extent to which the alcohol industry is using UK charities to further interests. Policy makers in the UK need to consider whether current levels of transparency in policy-making best serve public benefit. It is well established that the tobacco industry has used corporate philanthropy as a political device, though little attention internationally has previously been paid to the alcohol industry and charities."

By investigating the charity commission website and financial records of 1,400 charities in England and Wales, the researchers identified the sources of funding for charities involved in UK alcohol policy.

Addaction and Mentor UK were found to have received industry funding alongside public sector grants, and are active in alcohol policy. Addaction offers services to people affected by drug and alcohol problems, and received 351,000 from Heineken UK in 2011/12. Mentor UK offers mentoring programmes to protect children from alcohol and
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Contact: Katie Steels
press@lshtm.ac.uk
44-020-792-92802
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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