YOU report that more than 70 per cent of labels on alcohol containers do not show the Government's updated guidelines on safe levels of consumption ("Most alcohol labels fail to show up-to-date drinking guidance, reveals research", The Herald, August 26). A check on 424 alcohol products on sale in retailers across Scotland, Wales London, the south-east and north-east of England, found that 56 per cent included no nutritional information, 37% listed only the calories content. Just seven per cent showed the full nutritional information required by law. On top of that 24% of the labelling information showed the old and outdated recommended safe alcohol consumption information: 14 units for women and 21 units for men per week. The current advice was changed three years ago to 14 units per week with two alcohol-free days for both men and women.

The alcohol industry has chosen to almost completely ignore the alcohol consumption advice of the UK Government, because it is not in its interest to do so otherwise. If the public followed that advice billions of pounds of sales and profits would be wiped off their balance sheets. Profit before health is the reason that alcohol is the UK's biggest drug problem, affecting more families than any other drug.

Let's face it, the more alcohol sold, the more revenue pours into the Treasury, so the Government has chosen to turn a blind eye to this problem. UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has just abolished the main department in England and Wales responsible for health education. So the alcohol industry must be laughing all the way to the bank. So too must the Portman Group that Margaret Thatcher created to advise the alcohol industry on alcohol education, safe consumption guidelines, and to ensure that labelling on alcohol containers were appropriately displayed. The Portman Group's total funding comes from the drinks industry. It is not and never will be, in the interest of anyone producing drugs like alcohol to educate the public about health risks.

When the Scottish Parliament set out to curb smoking its investigation group did not invite the tobacco industry to sit around the table with it. The result has been a highly successful massive reduction in smoking and better health for millions of us. However when the same Scottish government ran a year-long public consultation on drugs and alcohol, of which I was a part, the committee setting the agenda for our discussions included the chief executives of Diageo, the world’s biggest alcohol producer and the Scotch whisky industry. The half-day presentation on alcohol was led by Diageo and the whisky industry. For nearly two hours they very professionally told us of how successful their business was. In the twenty minutes left for questions they refused to discuss issues I raised about the massive health consequences of alcohol consumption.

Sadly, it is never going to be in the interest of any governments to curb an industry that brings in £10.7 billion in duty and tax.

Max Cruickshank, Glasgow G12.