Close Menu

Alcohol-related deaths fall in the UK

The number of deaths related to alcohol in the UK fell sharply in 2009 as the onset of recession led to a drop in the amount people drank.

The number of alcohol-related deaths in the UK fell by nearly 13% in 2009 to 8,664, but these were still more than double the figure of the early 1990s.

Data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) General Lifestyle survey shows men in the UK drank 16.3 units of alcohol a week on average in 2009, down from 17.4 in 2008, while women drank eight units a week on average, down from 9.4 in the previous year.

Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern, predicts that the figures will rise once again as the UK emerges from recession, and reiterated calls for the government to make alcohol less affordable.

Shenker said: "The slight fall in 2009 in alcohol-related deaths mirrors a slight drop in alcohol consumption, and while this is positive, it is wholly due to a drop in consumer spending as a result of the recession.

"It is very likely that alcohol consumption will rise again once the economy picks up. Government alcohol policy should ensure alcohol becomes less affordable permanently, not just in an economic downturn."

The ONS figures also highlighted how the middle classes drink more than their working class peers. The former had a higher weekly alcohol intake – 13.5 units – compared to households where people do "routine and manual work", who drank an average of 10.7 units.

In the poorest households – those with annual incomes of less than £10,400 – men’s alcohol intake is relatively high at 16 units a week. However in households in the next income bracket alcohol intake falls back, with men drinking 12 units weekly.

Men earning £52,000 or more drank on average 18.7 units a week. Women in the same pay bracket were drinking 10.8 units.

Alan Lodge, 02.02.2011

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No