UK Alcohol Consumption in 2010 Far Lower Than 2004 Peak

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UK Alcohol Consumption in 2010 Far Lower Than 2004 Peak

UK Alcohol Consumption in 2010 Far Lower Than 2004 Peak
August 31
13:32 2011

UK alcohol consumption in 2010 remains far lower than it was six years ago, with consumption continuing to flat-line. While there was a small 0.6% rise in UK consumption per head in 2010, drinking levels are still 11% lower than they were in 2004 when a marked decline in UK consumption began, according to the latest annual edition of the British Beer & Pub Association’s Statistical Handbook 2011. The data also shows that the UK ranks below the European average in terms of consumption.


These hard figures, based on Treasury tax returns, raise serious questions about the debate on rising alcohol consumption, says the BBPA, with chief executive Brigid Simmonds calling for a debate firmly based on the facts when it comes to UK alcohol consumption.


Other startling findings in the new statistics are certain to raise concerns about the UK’s approach to the industry. Britons continue to pay punitive taxes on alcohol in comparison with their neighbours, and this ‘tax gap’ is growing – British alcohol taxes are now the second highest in the EU on beer and wine, and fourth highest on spirits. Currently tax policy is a threat to jobs among the million people employed in industry, says the BBPA.


This tax gap grew in 2011. UK taxes are now eight times higher than France, and 11 times higher than Germany. UK taxes now outstrip those of traditional high-tax regimes in Scandinavia, with the sole exception of Finland.


Other key facts about Britain’s drinking to emerge in the new report include:

* The average price of a British pub pint has broken the three pound barrier – partly due to huge tax increases.

* The North East is the cheapest region for a beer, whereas London is almost 50% more expensive. The cheapest region for a glass of wine in a pub is the Midlands, whereas Wales is cheapest for spirits.

* Off-trade (supermarket and shop) sales of beer now account for almost 50% of total sales.

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