NHS Surrey has welcomed news that major drink manufacturers have signed up to a voluntary Government scheme to provide more information about the harm of alcohol on labels.

As part of the scheme forged in 2007, labels should provide details about the number of units contained in the drink and the health implications of alcohol.

Dr Ruth Milton, director of public health for Surrey, said: “Raising awareness about sensible drinking is an important part of what we do and we welcome any measures which support this. The way that drinks are promoted, priced and marketed can have a big impact on public perceptions and behaviour.

“This multi-faceted approach, which brings together the major players in the drinks market, is a positive step forward and will raise awareness even further about how many units it is safe to drink.”

However, the alcohol industry was criticised last month by the Governments public health minister Gillian Merron, who said not enough companies had signed up to the agreement.

She said, despite cooperation from some brands, progress had been “very disappointing” and the Government was considering making the scheme compulsory.

A recent report found only 15 per cent of drinks provided adequate information about unit levels and health risks.