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Pub trade questions binge drink report

By Iain O'Neil , 04-Aug-2006

Pub trade questions binge drink report

The trade has attacked a report by the Centre for Public Health which says England is a nation of binge-drinkers.

The figures, released today and picked up by the national press, claim 18% of the population binge drinks once a week.

We all need to realise that 60% of all the alcohol sold in the UK is sold through supermarketsMark Hastings, BBPA.

But British Beer and Pub Association director of communications Mark Hastings said: "What the binge drink study actually shows is that 82% of the population are not binge drinking.

"In real money, the figures show 18% of the population drink three or more pints - or two or more glasses of wine - once a week."

"The vast majority of the population are not only not binge drinking but are drinking reasonably and responsibly."

Obsession with blaming pubsHastings also said it was unfair to target the on-trade in the way some of the national press has chosen to do.

He said: "We all need to realise that 60% of all the alcohol sold in the UK is sold through supermarkets for consumption at home.

"In recent years drinking at home has gone up 9% compared to a 6% decline in drinking at pubs.

"This obsession with talking about pubs is leading us to overlook where most of us do most of our drinking."

The study found the problem of binge drinking was greater in the north of England - with 29.2% of people in Newcastle falling into the study's binge drink category.

Professor Mark Bellis, director for the Centre for Public Health, said: "These profiles graphically illustrate the growing costs of cheap alcohol, a night-time economy almost exclusively packed with bars and clubs and a failure to deliver a credible drinking message to both youths and adults.

"We hope that making these statistics widely available will highlight that we are no longer a nation enjoying a harmless tipple but increasingly one developing a dangerous alcohol addiction."

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Your CommentsPeter via email 04/08/2006"Sorry but I, like other licensees I talk to have now had enough of binge drinking being blamed on the on trade, until this blind government sorts out the route of the problem, the Brewers and the off trade, I don't give a xxxx about any news about it.

Because of purchase power the supermarkets and off trade can sell at lower prices than I as a independent Free trader can buy from the very same wholesaler who supplies the to the off trade.

And to make things worse the irresponsible reporting by the media, they give the on trade a bad deal and they need some claims against them for putting good hard working licensees and staff out of business.

I know the drinks culture is changing but it's the governments fault for not seeing what's going on, perhaps they are blinded by all those do gooders who are trying to run our lives. But hey when was the last time a Government listened to its people, election time? Only so much change you can take you know!."

Rob Crawford via email 04/08/2006"This and many other reasons helped to prompt my decision to leave the trade, after twenty years.

The Health Nazis will never stop.

I suggest we pick a Saturday night and sell all of our products at the equivalent price of that in a supermarket, having of course removed all doormen and with a scant regard to customers proving their age, much like the supermarkets and see what happens!

Of course the real problem is none of us has £20 million pounds to give/lend to the Labour government, unlike Lord Sainsbury.

E B Cant via email 04/08/2006"We have loads of issues with our drinking in the UK, Much of it are caused by our culture of not allowing families with young people to be monitored by their parents on a day out, We only have to look at what other countries are doing, take Spain for instance, families can go into a pub where young people are introduced to alcohol at a young age, We rarely see trouble spots without british people being involved, We have an antiquated system in the Uk, run by antiquated people, Untill we educate these people, who happen to be in charge of us & do not listen, then we have no answer to this problem."

Paul Davies via email 04/08/2006"It is about time that these professors and so called experts got from behind their computers and saw first hand what is going on in the majority of pubs in this country. We do not have 'binge' drinkers, we do not have drunks, we have sensible, responsible people enjoying social drinking. The problem we do have with drunks is with people that arrive at our pub early having tanked up at home before hitting the town to 'top up'.

We, like many others, are fed up with all these experts telling the world that pubs are the devils work, fuelling binge drinking and drunken disorder.

We suggest that these experts hang around the supermarkets and see how much alcohol is being purchased at stupidly cheap prices. Then rethink the problem with this fact.

John Ellis, Crown Inn, Oakengates vai email, 04/08/20062 or 3 drinks a week equals "Binge Drinking"? I don't think so, and neither would many other rational people - some of these so-called "Health Experts" really need to get a life!

What do we have to do to get some action taken on supermarkets which, during the World Cup, were dumping alcohol on the market at less than the cost of duty and V.A.T. If we responsible licencees tried that, we would be hauled up before the Courts. It must be against various laws but, more importantly, it is against the ethos of "Drink Responsibly". It's no good the Big Brewers" moaning that they can't stop the supermarkets loss-leading with beer - THEY CAN!! If someone distorts the market with your product, STOP SUPPLYING THEM!!

Martyn Cornell via email, 05/08/2006Once again the anti-alcohol lobby has taken its own artificially defined level of drinking - two and a half pints or more - which they insist on no evidence is a "binge" and declared that because many people drink past their entirely articifial limit we have a problem. It's like setting 25mph as the recomended speed limit and saying as many people go faster than that we have a speed problem. These people hate pubs and they hate others enjoying themselves - it's the same old puritanism that has hated "cakes and ale" since Shakespeare's day and before.

Ken Nason via email, 07/08/2006We might as well save our breath.

As pointed out by experienced long serving licensees several years ago when the smoking debate reared it's ugly head

"once the smoking is banned alcohol will be next"

Here we have the exact same opening rounds from the government puppets. Demonise drink(fags) by highlighting unproven and unsubstantiated social and health problems. Concentrate on negative reporting even if surveys show the opposite (82% ok 18% bad!)

Present those who oppose as ludites and dinosours and unlightened then deny those who oppose the opportunity to put their case by denying open debate( through control of the media)

Result, social engineering at it's best which is a basis for control of the masses which is the aim but not the manifesto of our totalitarian regime.

Sounds far fetched. Look around you who would have thought ten years ago that you would have had thousands

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