UK alcohol consumption fell by more than 3% in 2008, according to new analysis of data from HM Revenue & Customs by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).
The fall, to 8.9 litres per head (of 100% alcohol), confirms the pattern of a downward trend in alcohol consumption since 2004, when it was 9.5 litres per head.
The figures show that, since the Licensing Act of 2005, when restrictions on opening hours were lifted, alcohol consumption has dropped 4.6%, resulting in a saving to the economy of £2.3b over the last three years (based on the Government's own calculation of alcohol harm).
This trend highlights the complete lack of justification for further, punitive alcohol tax increases and red tape that will put many more pubs out of business, according to the BBPA.
Mark Hastings, BBPA director of communications, said the figures show that the persistent perception of rising alcohol consumption in the UK is false.
"Based on the Government's own method of calculating alcohol related harm, the figures show that current trends are cutting billions from the nation's alcohol harm bill," he said.
"This calls into question the case for pressing ahead with further punitive increases in tax increases and costly red tape, as the Government seems determined to do. Government policy should be based on the facts not reflect the myths on alcohol."
UK consumption of alcohol (litres per head of 100% alcohol)
2004 - 9.5
2005 - 9.4
2006 - 9.1
2007 - 9.2
2008 - 8.9
By Daniel Thomas
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