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Are the Brits drinking less?

07:50 UK time, Friday, 3 September 2010

Alcohol consumption in 2009 saw the sharpest year-on-year decline in 60 years, according to the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA). Have you cut down?

The BBPA said the data showed a 6% decline in 2009, the fourth annual drop in five years.

The association added that UK drinkers are now consuming 13% less alcohol than in 2004, below the EU average. It is thought the decline may be due to the economic downturn and a rise in alcohol duty.

On Thursday, the Scottish government announced it wants alcohol to be sold at a minimum of 45p per unit in an attempt to cut on consumption.

What is your reaction to the figures? Have your drinking habits changed? Are you a publican? Have messages about responsible drinking affected consumption? Is binge drinking a thing of the past?

This debate has now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    I think it's reasonable to expect the economic downturn to be the cause of this 'decline' in alcohol-abuse. It's caused simply by lack of money - rather than a rise in common-sense.

  • Comment number 2.

    No ! Hic !

  • Comment number 3.

    If the information is correct then we don't need a minimum price for alcohol. The Puritans can put their law making books away and let the moderate drinkers make their own decisions.
    Price has no effect on problem drinkers, they will just go without something else or get their money for drink in some other way.
    Prohibition (which in my opinion price fixing is a form of) caused more criminality in the USA than it cured.

  • Comment number 4.

    We have to drink less because the punitive taxes imposed on alcohol and drinking establishments is causing the closure of pubs at an alarming rate. The number of boarded up traditional "pubs" in my hometown is heartbreaking, while small outlets designed for mass binge drinking (i.e. shops converted into small bars) have ballooned. It is appalling.
    The sensible drinker is always disadvantaged by measures to curb the idiotic few.
    I remember pubs being places where the older generation could gather, getting them out of the confinement of their homes after they retire (albeit that was 25-30 years ago).
    Nowadays, drinking is not a social pasttime, it is a race by imbeciles to drink themselves into a stupor then pick fights with anyone in the street and cause carnage to their local community.
    I now restrict my drinking to weekend daytime only, when football is on television. I value my life too much to venture into my town centre at night.
    It never used to be like that. We have lost the plot. Sad.

  • Comment number 5.

    Beer and wine are brought in in huge quantities from Europe, where prices are much lower.

    You can get lager in French supermarkets for 35p a pint; shows you how much we're being ripped off.

  • Comment number 6.

    Are the Brits drinking less?

    Personally I'm drinking less, but smoking more dope.

    So swings and roundabouts really.

    (disclaimer: The BBC does not endorse any illegal activities, recreational or otherwise).

  • Comment number 7.

    I'm just getting fed up with the assumption that someone who has a couple of glasses of wine with their dinner is a 'heavy drinker' - when those who choose to comment on alcohol consumption take a more realistic approach to the difference between moderate responsible drinking and those who get wildly plastered and lose control of themselves, they might have a little bit more credibility.

  • Comment number 8.

    This government is so out of touch with reality!
    There are pubs closing all over the country, and this is because the average "Joe Bloggs" just does not have the money to spend on drink or food in a pub any more.
    Also landlords or managers cannot afford the taxes, and running costs to keep a pub going. This is mainly due to government legislation, and the appalling costs of energy, mostly due to the privatisation of Electricity,Gas,Water etc. Who`s policies I wonder?
    As far as the die-hard alcoholics are concerned, they will continue drinking anyway as they are addicted, and need help.
    Why can`t we adopt a European policy on this, as we are supposed to be in Europe! (Or are we!)
    The only thing this government wants to do, is make us all poorer, and this is very demoralising.
    I am at present thinking of leaving the country, as there is just no entertainment or happiness here any more for working people!

  • Comment number 9.

    Well this is just one more example of lying statistics isn't it. PC Guardian-reading do-gooders telling the rest of us about our private drinking habits based on so-called surveys by so-called scientists and… oh, wait, it comes from pub owners - ah, salt of the earth, honest mine hosts, excellent victuallers. Think I'll go out for a glass of water!

    Just a thought: they don't seem at all worried about telling us this. Now why would that be? Might it be that they want to avoid legislation, by saying 'well look, the plebs are drinking less anyway'?
    I wonder which socio-economic groups are drinking less? And which, in fact, more? Is there a North/South divide? Is the background in FACT the pubs' fury with the supermarkets for selling cheap drink? Hmm, better read the Guardian to find out the real story.

  • Comment number 10.

    It must seem that way to the British Beer and Pub Association.

    Less people drink in pubs and less people drink beer. Are people drinking less? Hardly.

  • Comment number 11.

    I don't wish to turn this HYS into something altogether more unpleasant, but could the increasing number of Muslims be a contributing factor?

  • Comment number 12.

    For someone with an alcohol problem there is no monetary deterrent. For the vast majority the Scottish government should be wary of following a road which ultimately leads to prohibition, mass corruption, crime, violence, and anarchy multiplied several times from its current state.

    Laws are for people to make via their representatives and I get no sense at all of politicians seeking and following profound advice from the UK public. If alcohol is cheap to make and sell then so be it, but at least be aware of how complete cultures are honed and not just a few of the facets of it.

    Alcohol is not the problem. Some people are.

  • Comment number 13.

    The figures are based on UK sales. The vast majority of what I drink is bought in France and brought into the country by me, it is therefore excluded from the figures. I'm not the only one, more and more of those in the south of the country are doing this, it's why a minimum price for alcohol wont work. How long before the "Booze Cruise" is back in fashion?

  • Comment number 14.

    Hey the Brits don't need alcohol, the UK population is bonkers anyway, off their heads or not.

  • Comment number 15.

    "..UK drinkers are now consuming 13% less alcohol than in 2004.."

    proof, if any was needed, that a liberal approach to taking drugs (in the case of alcohol, longer hours to drink) will result in fewer people consuming them.

  • Comment number 16.

    What does this mean, should we be happy at these figures?
    The more we drink and the more we smoke the more revenue the government gets, which is what they want.
    If our health is damaged by this then we will die younger, which is again what they want as then they need not pay us a pension.

    Their ideal scenario is for you to leave school/college at 16-21 work to 65 and die, a doctor told me this!

  • Comment number 17.

    So a recent headline is about minimum pricing on alcohol to stop us drinking to much and now we have a government stats thay prove we are drining less, so why set a minimum price?

    This is proof that Minimum pricing is nothing to do with the amount we drink.

    We are going to be a nation who live long dull and un-interesting lives and they complaining we dont have a pension is later life because we are all living to long.

  • Comment number 18.

    11. At 08:36am on 03 Sep 2010, Rufus McDufus wrote:
    I don't wish to turn this HYS into something altogether more unpleasant, but could the increasing number of Muslims be a contributing factor?

    ----

    what?

    have they increased from 3.5% of the population to 3.51%?

    can't see that making a huge impact.

    still, enjoy your paranoid fantasies.

  • Comment number 19.

    I'm not drinking less, not that I drink much anyway.

    It never ceases to amaze me how out of touch politicians and 'think tanks' are with alcoholism though. They believe raising alcohol prices (or setting minimums) will tackle the 'drink problem' but it won't. You see people who have a drink problem have, well, a problem and that means they'll get their drink somehow, regardless of cost.

    When the politicians raise alcohol prices they'll see a drop in drinking and they will claim that their plan works, but the drop in drinking will be from those who don't have a 'problem' and can take or leave alcohol anyway.

    This is the difficulty when you get people who don't understand a problem trying to deal with it. Surely they could find a politician who has (or had) a serious drink problem to lead initiatives on this. We might then get some decent solutions.

  • Comment number 20.

    Mmmm. A report that says how badly done to our pubs are...produced by a trade body who's job it is to represent pubs.

    This report is worthless.

  • Comment number 21.

    Yes we are sitting here writing to each other on HYS instead of going down the pub..
    Question.. why are the pubs always so full in soap operas, I don't think it's real life anymore..

  • Comment number 22.

    Yes, since Labour were kicked out I don't feel the need to stay drunk all the time.

  • Comment number 23.

    Nok wrote

    'Personally I'm drinking less, but smoking more dope.

    So swings and roundabouts really.

    (disclaimer: The BBC does not endorse any illegal activities, recreational or otherwise)

    I used to smoke pot Nok and now I look back on all those wasted years watching rubbish on the TV thinking it was interesting. I honestly wish I had never smoked a joint.

  • Comment number 24.

    In my experience Scotland is the only part of the UK where it is still commonplace to see people staggering around drunk in the day. I was amazed to find off licences there sell half bottles of sherry which people go around swigging. Mind you if I had Alex Salmond blathering on at me all the time I'd want to stay drunk too.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 26.

    The purchase of alcohol should be a percentage of your purchases in other words if you want several boxes of cheap beer you have to buy other products .If you want just a bottle of whiskey for example and some crisps so be it but mulitple amounts of booze great but you have to buy for example £50 worth other products . Where I live you are limited to how much booze you can carry away at one time or in your car. Ten boxes of washing powder allows you so many tins of beer.

  • Comment number 27.

    #19 Count Otto Black wrote:

    I'm not drinking less, not that I drink much anyway.

    It never ceases to amaze me how out of touch politicians and 'think tanks' are with alcoholism though. They believe raising alcohol prices (or setting minimums) will tackle the 'drink problem' but it won't. You see people who have a drink problem have, well, a problem and that means they'll get their drink somehow, regardless of cost.

    When the politicians raise alcohol prices they'll see a drop in drinking and they will claim that their plan works, but the drop in drinking will be from those who don't have a 'problem' and can take or leave alcohol anyway.

    This is the difficulty when you get people who don't understand a problem trying to deal with it. Surely they could find a politician who has (or had) a serious drink problem to lead initiatives on this. We might then get some decent solutions.

    Well said, and deserves saying again!

  • Comment number 28.

    The Scottish Government is desperate for cash, there's no-one smart enough to create wealth or jobs in Scotland.

    They only know how to take more money from the long suffering overtaxed citizens.
    So now even more jobs will be lost as Cuba-Escotia goes after alcohol.

    It will be like Sweden, people will eventually start to brew their own hard alcohol and buy mixers.

  • Comment number 29.

    Since the CON DEMS voted then selves in I feel like getting drunk!

  • Comment number 30.

    4. At 08:20am on 03 Sep 2010, Chris wrote:

    We have to drink less because the punitive taxes imposed on alcohol and drinking establishments is causing the closure of pubs at an alarming rate. The number of boarded up traditional "pubs" in my hometown is heartbreaking, while small outlets designed for mass binge drinking (i.e. shops converted into small bars) have ballooned. It is appalling.
    The sensible drinker is always disadvantaged by measures to curb the idiotic few.
    I remember pubs being places where the older generation could gather, getting them out of the confinement of their homes after they retire (albeit that was 25-30 years ago).
    Nowadays, drinking is not a social pasttime, it is a race by imbeciles to drink themselves into a stupor then pick fights with anyone in the street and cause carnage to their local community.
    I now restrict my drinking to weekend daytime only, when football is on television. I value my life too much to venture into my town centre at night.
    It never used to be like that. We have lost the plot. Sad.

    -----------------------------------------

    Very well said sir and it summed up perfectly what I feel.

  • Comment number 31.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 32.

    As a moderate drinker I am sick and tired of being told I may have to pay a minimum price for alcohol. Price has never been a deterrent shown by Europe's highest price of petrol which doesn’t deter drivers either. It’s about time we started to analyse why people drink more not try to stop them doing so.

  • Comment number 33.

    Well the number of people needing hospital treatment with alcohol related conditions has risen by 8% so I doubt it.

    And I haven't got the figures, but as someone else has pointed out, alcohol is much cheaper in France and a drop in the amount of duty paid only proves a drop in duty paid, nothing else. To assume drinking has reduced would be pushing it a bit at the very least.

    #15 No it's not proof at all and well said Nok in reply to 11.

  • Comment number 34.

    There are so many more atractions and disatractions these days in my Gradfathers day there was only the pub.. so people would drink more...


  • Comment number 35.

    Brewing your own drink is cheaper, tastier and the goverment doesnt get its duty nor accurate statistics!

  • Comment number 36.

    Heading for four million unemployed. That should cut drinking even more. Well done david.....NOT!

  • Comment number 37.

    It's nothing to do with whether we're drinking less or more. The government needs to get more taxes off us. Alcohol and road taxes are the easy targets, you can expect both of them to rise.

  • Comment number 38.

    Are the Brits drinking less?

    Try reading your own headline BBC; you've just reported that there has been a 6% drop in alcohol consumption in 2009 so, self-evidently, Brits ARE drinking less.

    The questions and topics on HYS just continue to get worse.

  • Comment number 39.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 40.

    And so the Tory PR machine rolls on!

  • Comment number 41.

    I'm sure the authors of this survey will be waiting with baited breath to discover if their results can be confirmed by the all-knowing contributors to HYS!

    So we're drinking less but binge drinking is a big problem, this problem is apparently caused by under-priced alchol sold by supermarkets but somehow manifests itself in disorder outside licensed premises whose prices have increased in real terms year-on-year?

    I think the government, the BMA and the BPPA should go away, think really hard about the problem and come back to see me when they can form a coherent opinion.

  • Comment number 42.


    Figures have probably dropped overall due to the state of the economy. But what would be very interesting would be having a look at the sales of strong ciders beers and spirits. There lies the problem.

  • Comment number 43.

    "New Labour brought in 24hrs drinking {Waste of time} 8 pubs and clubs closed every week in the U.K. for two years . So The New government Con/Dems try to bring in a new tax on alcohol 45p a unit in Scotland {to stop people drinking at home} and save money for the N.H.S. this will bring an extra few million in tax. The government are clueless after bailing out the greedy bankers, they need more cash to keep this country from going broke but the smokers' { not allowed in pubs} and heavy drinkers {drink at home much cheaper} all {taxpayers} are now skint so they cut down on trips to the pubs that are still open. Maybe they will understand now not all the people in the U.K. are millonaires

  • Comment number 44.

    The sooner the unionsit parties start to grow up the better. Minimum Unit Pricing, proposed by the Scottish Government, supported by health professionals and police, supported by the ConDem Coalition, by Labour Councillors, by the Welsh Assembly, yet voted down by the English parties in Scotland. Who would think that these people were elected to act in the best interests of Scotland and her people. Will the monkeys in the red rosettes continue to fool the people next spring?

  • Comment number 45.

    Is it just me? if the consumption figures are based partly on Revenue figures from Customs and Excise, surely the figures have been affected by lower revenue when VAT was 15% and lower revenue because super/hyper markets are selling alcohol so cheaply?

  • Comment number 46.

    Maybe adults respond to been treated like adults, instead of being dictated to like young children. Personally I don't blame society for bingeing on alcohol and taking illegal substances, we are treated like children by our government its only natural we fulfil their expectations/prophecies.

  • Comment number 47.

    As somebody who has buried a loved one through alcoholism, I despair when I see people drinking to excess, and thinking that it is somehow "Clever".

    Far from the British drinking less, I think that they are drinking just the same....but drinking elsewhere.

    I think that the ongoing demise of the British Pub is one of the saddest things that is happening at the moment. When the smoking ban was introduced, it sounded the death knell for many pubs, because people will still drink, but they will do it at their own homes where they can enjoy cheaper drinks, be able to smoke and enjoy each others company, all without being ripped off by greedy breweries that refuse to help their landlords by offering drinks at prices that people can afford.

    When the smoking ban was introduced, individual pubs should have been given the option as to whether to opt in or out of the scheme. Possibly by displayed a sign on the outside wall of the pub prominantly displayed, designating them a smoking or non smoking establishment.

    That would have enabled people to drink where they felt most comfortable. But as usual, under the Labour Lot, people weren't given the choice and the nanny state syndrome was emposed upon us all.

  • Comment number 48.

    Cut down? Yep - 100% since the smoking ban.

  • Comment number 49.

    While this is undoubtedly good news, the picture is probably not as simple as your headline might suggest. There is a continuing trend for the alcoholic strength of drinks to rise, which means that the volume of alcohol as ethanol being consumed may still be on an upward trend.

    Also, the pattern of drinking remains a major problem. There are still far too many people drinking to get drunk. The attempt to introduce a "cafe culture" by extending drinking hours has clearly not worked.

  • Comment number 50.

    There's a bunch of idiot drinkers that are giving governments ammunition to foist yet more taxes on us. Most people drink sensibly, most people know their limits, and we're probably talking 90% of the population. The pub is the hub of many communities, to some the old and the lonely, it's a chance to leave their solitude and have a little company and maybe enjoyment. Breweries have played a large part in the demise of pubs and the binge culture with their greedy obsession of making more money. The action of breweries in their quest to maximise profits by targetting the young drove the older more responsible drinkers away, and created in many cases noisy, dirty hovels where booze was sold. The reform we need is not to put yet more tax on enjoyment, but target the people who are the nuisances in society, and please breweries, take out your televisions, your one arm bandits, your disco's, get your pubs back to being the place where people socialised with a drink in a pleasant environment where they can hear themselves talk.

  • Comment number 51.

    Drinking less is pubs yes, because of the ridiculous prices for a simple pint of beer. But people are buying more from high-street vendors - often the 24 hour variety, who are able to buy in copious amounts from *not-the-usual* suppliers, therefore they can offer their customers cheap booze. for example, 6 cans of premium lagers for £5.50. That's almost 6 pints of beer! At that same price, you would barely be able to buy yourself a measly couple of pints at your local.

  • Comment number 52.

    This is a survey about beer and alcohol sold in pubs and bars...this does not include all sold from other sources ( supermarkets).
    We are deceiving ourselves if we believe that the Brits are drinking less, we have a major alcholism problem in the UK and this partial survey shouldn't alter what needs to be done by Government by way of taxes or other measures.

  • Comment number 53.

    Tax on alcohol in the UK is 10 times that of Germany and most of Europe?
    So howcome a beer cost anything from 7 to 9 Euro in France and Belgium this summer then? THREE times what it costs in a pub here EVEN IN LONDON!?!?

  • Comment number 54.

    I think it's reasonable to expect the economic downturn to be the cause of this 'decline' in alcohol-abuse. It's caused simply by lack of money - rather than a rise in common-sense.

    ---------------
    It also fell between 2004 and 2009 most of these years were unaffected by the economic down turn. I suspect this reflects changing attitudes and consumption patterns.

    In general recessions tend to lead to an increase in alcohol consumption.


    I suspect price particularly in pubs and clubs does have some effect this has little to do with the duty charged as this does not remotely explain why drinks in pubs and clubs (alcoholic or otherwise) are on average 300%-500% more expensive than buying the identical product in a supermarket who are of course working on a profit margin themselves iro 30%..

    Having owned a restaurant myself in Spain I appreciate the need for margin however a reasonable Mark up is 60-100%.

  • Comment number 55.

    I personally don't think I have cut back, but then again I drink in moderation anyway and have a couple of glasses of wine a couple of nights a week and the odd pint in a pub.
    It's unclear whether the figures quoted refer to all drinking, or drinking in Pubs. If it is the later that is very understandable as it is quite expensive to drink out, and given the fact that money is scare a lot of people will instead invite friends to their homes and drink sociably there. It is therefore not surprising that everytime I go out driving I seem to a see another pub that has closed.
    If the figures refer to all drinking I am frankly surprised as I would expect people to basically drink as much, but try and get better value for money. I for example will never pay full price for a bottle of wine, I have a maximum price that I am prepsred to pay and get the best bottle I can buy at that price.
    If indeed consumption has gone down I don't think you can assume that problem drinkers have cut back, as the people who are most likely to cut back are those on the margins, who occassionally drink, but can easily live without.

  • Comment number 56.

    A reduction in alcohol consumption!

    This can only be a good thing, if anybody believes the economy depends for success on any or all of us drinking to excess then there is something decidedly wrong with the economy that we have created, and I speak as someone who has always enjoyed the odd alcoholic beverage. In real terms or as a proportion of income, slcoholic drink has never been so cheap in the UK since the early days of gin in the 18th century.

    I learnt many years ago from the odd over indulgence myself and by observation of the effects of alcoholism on the human mind and body to treat alcohol with respect. I have seen up close some great careers and personalites destroyed by alcohol. I am afraid that booze has got so cheap relative to income today that it permits frequent, gross overindulgence by those who don't have the intelligence to realise what road they have started down.

    Is it time to screen that great movie again, "Days of Wine and Roses"?

  • Comment number 57.

    The economic downturn,the closing of pubs,clubs and wine bars and the sheer cost of a pint or glass of wine are the main culprits.Supermarkets have also seen a big drop in consumption despite the prices they sell at. The other factor is that people no longer go out as much(they cant afford it)and despite what the press say most people dont drink at home.So the £14 billion industry is on a slow decline.If it means less drink drivers and binge drinkers then its good but like everything in this society there is always a downside and as the whole drink industry employs many thousands of workers,its going to be a steady decline in employment straight to the job centre competing with everyone else being chucked on the ever growing heap of no hope!

  • Comment number 58.

    Not yet, but only 2 more weeks of having to put up with my inept manager and then I'm off to a new job so I think that will result in less drinking (and less time on HYS).

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    43. At 09:58am on 03 Sep 2010, Lewis Fitzroy wrote:
    "New Labour brought in 24hrs drinking {Waste of time} 8 pubs and clubs closed every week in the U.K. for two years . So The New government Con/Dems try to bring in a new tax on alcohol 45p a unit in Scotland {to stop people drinking at home} and save money for the N.H.S. this will bring an extra few million in tax. The government are clueless after bailing out the greedy bankers, they need more cash to keep this country from going broke but the smokers' { not allowed in pubs} and heavy drinkers {drink at home much cheaper} all {taxpayers} are now skint so they cut down on trips to the pubs that are still open. Maybe they will understand now not all the people in the U.K. are millonaires

    -------------------------------------------------------

    Lewis, it isn't the coalition that is proposing the 45p per unit minimum price in Scotland, it is the SNP. The other parties actually oppose it.
    The other thing to note is that it isn't a tax, the proposal is to increase the minimum price that can be charged by the seller. The sellers, usually the supermarkets are the beneficiaries not the Government as they simply charge a higher price and therefore make more profit. Not surprisingly the supermarkets are all in favour of minimum pricing as it means they no longer have to compete. To be honest very surprised the Scottish Government think they can get away with minimum pricing, as if businesses got together and agreed to charge a minimum price this would be deemed to be a cartel and unfair practice, and would result in massive fines being imposed for price fixing.

  • Comment number 61.

    I drink a lot less than before. Not wholely down to price but because
    1. I'm getting on a bit now and my body can't take it as much
    2. I rarely go to pubs because they are full of obnoxious people
    3. It used to be the awful smell of smokers but now it is cheap perfume and fabric conditioner, you can even taste it in some areas.
    4. Too noisy - you can't hold a decent conversation without shouting, usually over loud music which for some inexplicable reason seems to get turned up at 10pm
    5. All in all not a nice way of passing the time.
    6. It is not on my list of priorities with my limited income.

  • Comment number 62.

    It's attitudes to alcohol, not prices that will change peoples relationship with the demon drink. Unfortunately our history tells us that we have always had a bad relationship with alcohol going back over a thousand years. That will be hard to change and as we all know, politicians don't like doing things that are hard and take a bit of thought, so up go the prices. Education should go a long way, as should going down the tobacco route and having no advertising for alcohol that always glams it up and suggests you can't have a good time without it.

    I'm not a killjoy by the way. I think all drugs should be legalised and regulated with the emphasis being on education and harm reduction - but hey, where does common sense come into politics?

  • Comment number 63.

    The smoking ban and cheap supermarket booze has stopped a lot of people drinking in pubs, hence the reason for the reduction. Why drink in a pub, when you can drink in the comfort and safety of your own home ? How many pubs have closed since the smoking ban came in ? Hundreds is the answer. I have hardly been in a pub since smoking was banned.

  • Comment number 64.

    As has been said by others, I suspect that people are not drinking less, just drinking at home. Many claim that this is because of the cost of drinking in pubs, and the effect of the smoking ban. Personally, I think it has lots to do with the lack of time. When I'm off work on holidays or weekends I often go to the pub for a quiet drink with friends. But during the week I tend to have a glass of wine at home because by the time I get in from work I just about have time to do some exercise, do some housework and make dinner before it is time for bed.

  • Comment number 65.

    So alcohol consumption is substantially down for the fifth year running and the year on year decrease is the biggest in 60 years.
    We have had no response from the prohibitionist classes yet. Given their professed concern about the amount people are drinking they should be delighted and shouting it from the roof tops. But so far nothing but silence – could it be that they sense their livelihoods are at risk.
    Though I don't suppose it will be long though before they discover something else to demonise and if possible ban. Prohibitionists don’t t turn into libertarians because they run out of things to ban –they will always find something.

  • Comment number 66.

    I think it is due to the recession, but the people who have cut down on drinking are the people with mortgages and families etc. The young single people continue to abuse alcohol because they have more disposable income.

  • Comment number 67.

    Shillo said:
    "If the information is correct then we don't need a minimum price for alcohol. The Puritans can put their law making books away and let the moderate drinkers make their own decisions."

    That's exactly what the BBPA (British Beer and Pub Association) want people to think. This is nothing more than a pre-emptive strike by their propaga.. I mean publicity department, before a possible white paper on minimum pricing per alcohol unit. You don't happen to work for them do you, Shillo?

    Having live in a town centre for more than 30 years I have seen no difference in the amount of drunken violence & vandalism since we entered this economic downturn whatsoever. In fact the only difference in peoples behaviour, and the amount of trouble they cause when drunk, that I noticed was a massive increase right after the licensing laws were 'liberalised' by New labour not long after coming to power.

    Also if the BBPA are so concerned about their members & pubs that are closing down, perhaps they should concentrate more on the treatment of landlords at the hands of unscrupulous big pub chains run by accountants, who insist that they only buy from them at over-inflated prices.

  • Comment number 68.

    Not sure.

    Just relieved at airports at six in the morning to see Brits wandering around drinking beer from cans queuing up for other flights.

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 70.

    I think in some areas of the country, people may be drinking less, but the fundamental problem of drinking in this country hasn't gone away, as the survey would like us to believe. The problem stems from our culture of getting absolutely 'wasted' (sic) on as many drinks as possible after a stressful day, or any other 'type' of day. Therein lies the problem with these other areas where binge drinking is quite rife. There needs to be more at-home discipline, and more on-street discipline from the police whenever alcoholic trouble arises. No economic recession, rise in alcohol prices or a change in pub opening hours will solve this problem.

  • Comment number 71.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 72.

    Recently I've been thinking into the "causes of binge drinking" usually I just hate the term and think its a load of rubbish. But lets look at it from the viewpoint of somebody who hits the town around twice a week.

    Binge drinking is drinking a large amount of alcohol infrequently. When I'm going out around Leeds I know the price of all the spirits I may drink in the night. To save myself money I hit the local Tesco's and buy a nice big bottle of vodka or something alike. Then drink that before I go out to save myself money as do most people who go out on town, so they turn up pretty wasted already.

    This then results in me turning up in Leeds pretty wasted and spending the rest of the night sobering up/topping myself up every hour or so. I would much much much prefer alcohol in clubs to be reasonably priced (currently £4 for a bottle of alco-pop) then I would purchase my alcohol from the bars/clubs and spread out my intake through the night.

    I don't know if this would work well rolled out throughout the UK because lets be honest a lot of people are idiots and would abuse the cheaper bar/club alcohol prices. But for me personally this would reduce the amount of "binge drinking" that I do.

  • Comment number 73.

    trevlincs...You are wrong, the data is from alcohol sold by importers and producers not pubs, It's HM revenue and Customs data, read the linked article. I assume it is all the legally sold alcohol in the UK. So unless there is a massive increase in home brewed alcohol and smuggled contraband then the figures do suggest a fall in consuption. So we can hold up on the draconian pricing policy, which imo would lead to increased black market alcohol and home brewing. We should be looking at decreasing the social and physical harm alcohol causes not increasing it. Either povety or Education or a combination of both are having that effectof decreasing use, we should be looking very carefully at this keeping in mind how we treat other harmful substances.

  • Comment number 74.

    What a shame this wasnt published yesterday!

    I just wonder if the idiots in the SNP will now stop meddling in things that do not concern them and concentrate on sorting the problems they promised to sort before they were elected!

    I for one will be raising a glass to this report......

  • Comment number 75.

    Are the Brits drinking less?
    I don't really care, but i wish BBC News woukld make up its mind.
    Last Week it was touting a rise in the cost of Alcohol.
    It makes the publics faith in the balance BBC News,suspect.

  • Comment number 76.

    Does this mean I will have to up my alcohol consumption by 13%?
    Somehow this report seems to contradict what the NHS have been telling us about higher consumption and the need to reduce consumption. What is the truth? Is there anyone in the UK that the general public can trust?
    All these countless statistics and reports that we are bombarded with are all produced by people with vested interests. When will the BBC do some proper journalism and root out the truth?

  • Comment number 77.

    Why the suprise?
    Publicans have been diminishing for years now so I can't understand the suprise !
    Cheap booze in supermarkets of course pubs are losing custom.
    I didn't think I would have to say this, never thought your readers where that stupid but evidently BBC you think they are, but because of the supermarkets cheap booze the sale of beer in pubs is diminishing week on week.

  • Comment number 78.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 79.

    5. At 08:20am on 03 Sep 2010, bill wrote:
    Beer and wine are brought in in huge quantities from Europe, where prices are much lower.

    You can get lager in French supermarkets for 35p a pint; shows you how much we're being ripped off.

    No. You USED to be able to do this when 1 Euro was worth 60p. With the Euro and the Pound being about the same level now there's little point shopping in France anymore. You'll save a couple of quid on a bottle of champagne but end up paying far more for a bottle of whiskey. The big UK supermarkets and wine warehouse are undercutting the Calais hypermarkets now (which is proved by how many Calais Hypermarkets have shut up shot).

    Incidentally you can buy cans of British supermarket lager for about 35p too... during the world cup Carlsberg was £10 for 24 cans. Own brand stuff is cheaper.

  • Comment number 80.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 81.

    I am certainly not drinking any more or any less.

    It's not the moderate drinker who buys a few cans or a bottle of wine to drink at home that the Government should be targeting.

    I don't have a few beers and then wander about outside ripping wing mirrors off of cars (happened to me 2 weeks ago), urinating in peoples gardens (common occurance), throwing chip paper and take away wrappers all over the street and generally making so much noise as to wake the whole street.

    Why should I be penalised?

    People who have a drinking problem are going to get the money by any means necessary even if it means resortingto criminal acts. Alcohol is a drug and how many drug users commit crimes to fund their addiction?

  • Comment number 82.

    I imagine so and I believe the cause to be the younger generation turning its back on regular, night on night drinking in favour of the get smashed once in a while approach.

    I myself won't drink unless I'm out on a night out, in which case I may knock back the equilivant of 6 or 7 pints. I'll go out once every two weeks, if not less. My dad on the other hand, entering his 60's, will consume a decent 3 or 4 pints a night, every night.

    Drink culture is changing and both approaches have their problems.

  • Comment number 83.

    What a question to ask on a Friday after a horrible week in work!!

    Truthfully I have no idea if I'm drinking less or more, I take it week by week.

    Tonight however, I shall be mostly seen around town, drunk as a lord, with a stupid smile firmly stuck on my face :)

  • Comment number 84.

    Doesnt it make you proud to be Scottish?

    A minority government so worried about our health that they want to introduce a minimum price for alcohol. The same people who made it illegal to buy even a bottle of beer in Tesco before 10:00 am.

    But yet there are chemists opening at 06:00 am to make sure the junkies can get their methadone......

    Something, somehwere isnt right. Maybe it's time these health facists actually ask the people of Scotland what they want, of course we have an election next year and the chance to tell them what we dont want!

  • Comment number 85.

    " 26. At 09:15am on 03 Sep 2010, david morgan wrote:
    The purchase of alcohol should be a percentage of your purchases in other words if you want several boxes of cheap beer you have to buy other products .If you want just a bottle of whiskey for example and some crisps so be it but mulitple amounts of booze great but you have to buy for example £50 worth other products . Where I live you are limited to how much booze you can carry away at one time or in your car. Ten boxes of washing powder allows you so many tins of beer."



    Anyone want to swap some of my left-over washing powder for a few cans?

  • Comment number 86.

    Where do they get these statistics from?

    The area in which I live is more socially and economically deprived than most, yet judging by the drunken sots roaming the streets and empty alcohol cans littering the pavements, I'd say consumption is increasing. I expect those concerned are either on benefits, or steal to afford their drink, as I can't see anyone employed being out drinking night after night and in a fit state to work the next day.

    If pub closing times had been changed to 10.30pm and the price of all alcohol doubled, I would be more prepared to accept these figures, but they have as usual been massaged in an effort to ward off more taxation in the brewing sector.

  • Comment number 87.

    The amount of alcohol i imbibe has not dropped one bit.

    After all what's less than nothing at all.

  • Comment number 88.

    4. At 08:20am on 03 Sep 2010, Chris wrote:
    I now restrict my drinking to weekend daytime only, when football is on television. I value my life too much to venture into my town centre at night.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Where do you live, Baghdad ?
    To my knowledge, town centre deaths are still a pretty infrequent occurence.

  • Comment number 89.

    Edwin Schrodinger wrote:
    Yes, since Labour were kicked out I don't feel the need to stay drunk all the time.

    I'm really sorry the the ConDem cuts have hit you standard of living so quickly.
    Pity it's probably going to get worse.

    There's a lot of sites on the intranet giving guidance on wine making and home brewing.

  • Comment number 90.

    mmm Is it because Blair having left office has stopped drinking?

  • Comment number 91.

    The Supermarkets don`t think so. They sell it quicker than they can put it on their shelves. The pub alcohol/non-alcohol prices are just too high.
    The British `local` is slowly becoming extinct..........

  • Comment number 92.

    The major problem I have with minimum pricing on alcohol is that the capital fascist called supermarkets and government are the gainers of such a policy.

  • Comment number 93.

    77. At 11:06am on 03 Sep 2010, joshua goldblum wrote:
    Why the suprise?
    Publicans have been diminishing for years now so I can't understand the suprise !
    Cheap booze in supermarkets of course pubs are losing custom.
    I didn't think I would have to say this, never thought your readers where that stupid but evidently BBC you think they are, but because of the supermarkets cheap booze the sale of beer in pubs is diminishing week on week
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    All very interesting, but the article states that alcohol sales are falling across the board, not just in pubs. So what's your point ?

  • Comment number 94.

    Apparently, yes

  • Comment number 95.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 96.

    24. At 09:10am on 03 Sep 2010, You Are On Another Planet wrote:
    "In my experience Scotland is the only part of the UK where it is still commonplace to see people staggering around drunk in the day. "

    Fancy a trip to York Races? Come and see the great tsunami of fat, bald middle-aged men & their mutton-dressed-as-lamb counterparts urinating in peoples front gardens as they stumble blindly back into town after an afternoon's binge-drinking. Makes you proud to be British.

    Personally, my alcohol consumption has just about quadrupled since the smoking ban came in. If the survey is about drinking in pubs, then of course it's gone down because pubs just aren't worth going to anymore.

  • Comment number 97.

    Its a chicken and egg situation for pubs, they put up prices because the number of punters has gone down but because of this the number of punters goes down even further.
    Frankly if I have to spend £3+ on a pint, the pub should at least have some atmosphere, a cheery welcome rather than a scowl from a part time bouncer and staff who speak at least a little bit of english.
    Its really no wonder pubs are closing at such a rate, people want more these days than having to queue outside, pay rip off prices then be yelled at to leave at exactly 20 minutes past 11.

  • Comment number 98.

    I think its ridiculous the BBPA saying that a minimum price for alcohol would hit everybody, including responsible drinkers.

    A minimum price for alcohol would only put the price up for cheap, strong drinks, like strong white cider. These are also the problem drinks. Responsible drinkers don't buy these. They tend to buy more traditional drinks at more realistic prices. The only people who buy the really strong cheap drinks are those who have a drink problem anyway and its these people that a minimum price would target.

    The BBPA argument is completely false.

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    What a load of nonsense, of course Binge Britain hasn't ended.

    More spin from this pathetic government.

 

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