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UK parents to teach their kids how to drink wisely

Parents are to be given advice about how much alcohol their children can safely drink, under government plans aimed at curbing binge drinking.

world Updated: Jun 02, 2008 22:19 IST

Parents are to be given advice about how much alcohol their children can safely drink, under government plans aimed at curbing binge drinking.

In an effort to stamp out excessive teenage drinking, they will be advised at what age their children could be allowed to drink at home and how often, Children's Secretary Ed Balls said.

The guidelines, part of the government's Youth Alcohol Action Plan, will be issued by chief medical officer, Liam Donaldson. The plan also contains sanctions.

Parents of drunk youths could also be jailed and youths who "persistently possess" alcohol could receive criminal records while licensed premises would be required to ask identification from anyone who looks 21 years or younger.

The proposals were unveiled just hours after a chaotic party involving thousands of revellers to mark the last day of drinking alcohol on the London Underground turned ugly.

"Tougher enforcement powers are needed to tackle under-age binge drinking but enforcement measures alone are not the solution," Balls said in a statement.

"We need a culture change about drinking with everyone from parents, the alcohol industry and young people all taking more responsibility."

Balls attacked parents who allowed their children to drink excessively in public.

"There is a small minority of parents who ... actually give them alcohol and send them out to drink it in public places — that is wrong," he told BBC radio.

Latest figures show the number of people admitted to hospitals in England with alcohol-related illnesses has doubled in the last decade.

"Given the widespread ease with which young people obtain and misuse alcohol, the scale of the challenge is considerable," said Don Shenker, Chief Executive of Alcohol Concern. "Parents play a critical role in raising sensible drinkers and they should benefit from the clearer advice on how to raise these issues with their children."