The proportion of Brits drinking heavily and frequently is on the decline

The proportion of Brits drinking heavily and frequently is on the decline

New UK Government figures revealing a fall in the number of "frequent" and "heavy" drinkers have been welcomed by an industry group.

The latest Office for National Statistics survey, published today (17 December) shows that between 2005 and 2012 the proportion of UK-based men drinking five days or more a week dropped from 22% to 14%. Women drinking at the same levels fell from 13% to 9%, the study found.

The proportion of men who drank alcohol the week before being interviewed for the study fell from 72% to 64%, the ONS said. The share of women who had drank in the seven days before fell from 57% to 52%.

However, the study revealed that around a quarter (27%) of 16-24-year-olds were more likely to have drunk “very heavily” at least once during the week. The ONS classified “very heavy” drinking as more than 12 units for men and nine units for women in one session.

Miles Beale, the Wine & Spirit Association's chief executive, welcomed the trends. “While there is still work to be done, these figures show that responsible drinking messages are being heard and that more and more people are drinking sensibly, within the guidelines," he said. 

Separate ONS figures released in May showed that the majority of adults in England are drinking within the recommended weekly guidelines, but alcohol-related deaths are rising, latest official figures show.