Opinion Former Video

How we drink in the UK

By using official statistics, collected by government agencies, we can see how alcohol is consumed across the country and how different groups of people choose to drink.

Script

Promoting responsible drinking, and reducing the harms related to alcohol misuse requires a comprehensive understanding of how we drink in the UK.

By using official statistics, collected by government agencies, we can see how alcohol is consumed across the country and how different groups of people choose to drink.

Today, about 40 million adults in the UK drink alcohol, while around 10 million are teetotal.

Consumption of alcohol has varied significantly in the last 100 years.  We drink about the same amount now as we did 30 years ago, but more than we did in the 1960s.

In the last ten years, alcohol consumption has fallen by about a fifth. Today we drink less in the UK than in France, Germany, Portugal and a dozen more European countries. 

We’re also drinking less - and less often - than we did, with the vast majority of adults drinking less than 14 units per week. That’s about 6 pints of beer or 6 small glasses of wine, or 7 double measures of spirits.

Harmful drinking patterns like binge drinking have fallen significantly in recent years, particularly amongst those aged 16-44. But, there has been a small increase amongst some older age groups.

We also know that those who are employed or from wealthier backgrounds drink more - and more frequently - than those who are unemployed or from poorer backgrounds.

Underage drinking has been falling steadily for over a decade. This has been accompanied by a decline in the number of children who think it’s ok to drink.

Of those children that do try alcohol, the majority do so with their parents.

Alcohol-related crime and violent crime have both declined substantially over the last decade, although alcohol is still linked to about half of all violent incidents. 

Drink driving rates have halved in the last ten years continuing the downward trend that started in the 1980s. This trend is particularly evident among young drivers.

To find out more about drinking habits in the UK, please contact the Portman Group at www.portmangroup.com

 

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