Six million brits are ‘heavy drinkers’

Around 6 million people in the UK are “heavy consumers” who drink more than half of the UK’s alcohol stores, according to new figures.

A new study published by analytics firm GlobalData found that 16% of the UK’s drinking population are classed as “heavy consumers” — the equivalent of roughly 5.9 million people.

These 16% of consumers drank 51% of the alcohol consumed in 2016, according to the results.

The news comes as Scotland is set to become the first country in the world with a minimum price for alcohol following a ruling by the Supreme Court.

Policy makers and NHS Scotland believe that having a floor price for alcohol of around 50p per unit would target only “harmful drinkers”, who are defined as those who regularly drink more than the UK’s lower risk drinking guidelines.

Amy Walker, consumer analyst at GlobalData, said: “A minimum unit price for alcohol would be largely aimed at cheap lager, cider and spirits sold in supermarkets and off-licences. It is unlikely to impact prices and sales in pubs, bars and clubs where prices are likely to already exceed the suggested 50p minimum unit price.”

Setting a 50p-per-unit minimum would mean that a bottle of red wine (9.4 units of alcohol) could not be sold for less than £4.69, while a four-pack of 500ml cans of 4% lager (8 units) need to be at least £4.

A 70cl bottle of whisky (28 units of alcohol) would have a base price of £14 – a move which has been contested by the Scotch Whisky Association.

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