UK: Alcohol consumption "falling fast" - BBPA

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Alcohol consumption in the UK is falling at its fastest rate in 60 years, according to recent research.

In a report issued by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) today (19 October), figures have claimed that the amount of alcohol consumed in the UK in the first six months of 2009 was down by around 8% on the corresponding period a year ago, to 3.81 litres per head.

The last time the nation's alcohol consumption fell by more than this was during 1948 when it dropped by 11% over the course of the year.

The BBPA said it had compiled the statistics from "official HM Revenue & Customs data".

"Alcohol consumption is not increasing," said the BPA's chief executive, Brigid Simmonds. "It has been on a firm downward trend for several years. We now have real life experience of falling total consumption. As doctors keep telling us things are getting worse, these figures cast severe doubt on the claims often made that the best policies for reducing alcohol harm are those that reduce everyone's drinking.

On current trends, by the end of 2009, alcohol consumption could be as low in the country as it was ten years ago, which was 14% down on 2004, the BBPA forecast.

Last week the BBPA upped its campaign for the Government's proposed mandatory code on alcohol selling to be scrapped, ahead of a crucial vote this week.

Simmonds wrote to members of the House of Lords, the upper chamber in the UK Parliament, calling on them to reject the code.

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