You're here: Home / What we do / Alcohol Alert / Issue 2 2011 / Responsibility deal under renewed pressure / The full text of Andrew Lansley’s letter to TESCO, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose, Co-op, Marks & Spencer:

The full text of Andrew Lansley’s letter to TESCO, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Waitrose, Co-op, Marks & Spencer:

Responsibility Deal

I would like to thank each of you for the time and effort you have put in to the Responsibility Deal process so far. Following the successful launch of the Deal on 15 March we can now boast to having nearly 200 partner organisations across the five Networks, including 94 that have signed up to at least one of the alcohol pledges.

I spoke to representatives from a number of companies at the All Party Parliamentary Group on Retail and confirmed that we are now entering the next phase, and look forward to more pledges by the end of the year. Paul Burstow, the Minister of State for Care Services, wrote to all members of the Responsibility Deal Alcohol Network last week about the way forward and I know several of your representatives will have received that letter.

In particular, could I draw your attention to the proposal to look at developing some retail principles as part of the alcohol network? I look forward to your full participation in this effort as we develop in parallel the alcohol strategy due later this year. We are keen to develop some retail principles that have both impact and longevity.

I know these are difficult economic times and there are difficult commercial decisions to be made. I am therefore particularly impressed that, as part of the Responsibility Deal launch, ASDA announced an individual pledge that “by 30 April 2011 we will no longer display alcohol in the foyer of any of our stores”.

Could I remind you of the overarching aims of this joint effort, which are to improve the public’s health, which in turn supports a vibrant and effective workforce and economy. I would ask that you abide by the spirit of the commitment, as well as the pledges you have signed up to individually. Collectively the off-trade sells 65% of the alcohol consumed in this country. I know you recognise your responsibilities in that regard.

I am aware that some of you may think that such action could raise issues around competition rules. We have good working relations with the OFT, and are happy to work on any issues that arise. I am keen to help remove barriers if possible, so let me know soon if we can help.

Thank you again for the time and effort you have put in to the Responsibility Deal process so far and I trust that I can count on your continued endeavour. I look forward to hearing confirmation that you intend to participate in the Retail Principles working group.

Andrew Lansley