The liberalisation of licensing laws has not fuelled an increase in drinking and people do not want to see a return to fixed closing times, research revealed today.
In a poll of more than 1,800 adults, carried out by YouGov for the British Beer & Pub Association
In the summer, Prime Minister Gordon Brown announced he was reviewing the 2005 Licensing Act, but 76% of the respondents do not want to see the licensing laws abolished and a return to fixed closing times.
"This poll supports the hard data we have on the nation's alcohol consumption," said Rob Hayward, chief executive of the BBPA.
"Since the Licensing Act was introduced the amount we drink has fallen in each of the last two years, by a total of more than 5%. What people are saying in this poll fully reflects that trend."
The vast majority (83%) of respondents said the change in the licensing law has not changed how often they go out, with 11% going out less and 4% venturing out more often.
The research also identified significant changes in drinking patterns and behaviour. One in five said they now feel under less pressure to drink quickly, while 13% cent said they are now more likely to stay a bit later in a local pub rather than go into a town centre.
"While the term '24-hour drinking' remains an obsession of headline writers, it is a million miles away from the day-to-day experience of pubs and their customers," said Hayward.
"Pubs have extended their hours modestly, usually at the weekend and clearly, as this poll shows, people are not going out that much more and not staying out that much later than they did before the law was changed."
By Daniel Thomas
E-mail your comments to Daniel Thomas here.