PM in 'listening mode' at drinks industry meeting

Prime Minister Gordon Brown met drinks industry representatives last week to discuss responsible retailing.

The hour-long meeting, attended by

some 20

manufacturers and retailers, as well as trade and public health bodies, focused on under-age and binge drinking.

Wine

& Spirit Trade Association chief executive Jeremy Beadles, who attended the meeting, said Brown was "in listening mode" and keen to get a grasp of initiatives from all sectors of the drinks industry.

Trading Standards Institute lead officer on under-age sales Brandon Cook said there had been "a lot of disagreement across the room about whether price is an issue but agreement that there needs to be a drinking culture change".

Drinkaware Trust chief executive Jean Collingwood

did not attend .

A statement released by the PM's office

said Brown "challenged alcohol producers and retailers to take part in the effort to deal with unacceptable drinking or face tougher action in the future".

The PM said

the "coordinated" approach will "build upon the efforts to deal with some of the problems

particularly related to our target groups - that is young people and binge-drinkers."

Brown and his advisers will consider the information

and are set to convene another meeting for next year.