I encourage the Members present to engage with the facts in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, Committee Stage of which will be taken in this House tomorrow. My entry point to this issue is the impact of alcohol-related harm, which I witness every day through my work with the RISE Foundation. I really believe that, as a nation, we are in denial. Our relationship with alcohol is so twisted in our culture and psyche, it is often difficult to untangle it and see clearly. I appreciate that Members are being inundated with representations from small shopkeepers. My parents were small shopkeepers, and I understand the problems small shopkeepers have to deal with on a daily basis and the pressures they face. As I have been receiving the e-mails I have been thinking of my parents and small shopkeepers, but the reality is that the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill is about saving lives in the very communities in which those shops are located, such as the small rural areas we are hearing from.
I am not anti-business. I believe the proposals in the Bill are workable but, sadly, the drinks industry is twisting the reality. Why do we allow the drinks industry to dictate public policy?