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Binge drinking – the handy catch-all term for alcohol-related antisocial behaviour – is rarely out of the headlines and, if the general media coverage is to be believed, the problem is as bad as it has ever been.

In fact, general levels of alcohol consumption in the UK have fallen in recent years, with Government statistics revealing that the number of litres of 100% alcohol consumed dropped from 9.5 per head in 2004 to 8.9 in 2008.

But these figures have done nothing to dampen the rise of the so-called ‘new temperance movement’. November 2007 saw the launch of the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA), a lobby group comprising of 21 health and temperance organisations, calling for hefty rises in alcohol tax and restrictions on the way booze is marketed.

This is a message backed by the influential British Medical Association (BMA), which has regularly demanded crackdowns on alcohol marketing including, in September 2009, a call for a complete ban on advertising alcohol.

And, while the pub industry has done its best to argue that binge drinking is a societal problem that new layers of legislation will do nothing to address, the Government appears to be falling in with the health lobby.

Alcohol tax has been raised in consecutive Budgets – despite proof that the Treasury’s tax take from pubs has fallen as a result due to widespread closures – while a mandatory code on the sale and promotion of alcohol will give local authorities more power to take action against licensed operators for problem drinking.

The industry will continue to argue that other issues, such as hefty discounts in supermarkets and pre-loading (revellers drinking at home before going out), are largely to blame for problem drinking, but while the Government is beginning to look at the role of the retailers, it is unlikely to side with the pub sector over the powerful health lobby any time soon.



Alcohol tax


Beer tax hikes could put 60,000 jobs at risk

Budget: Beer tax rise signals ‘death warrant’ for UK pubs

2,000 pubs have closed since 2008 beer tax hike

202 MPs call for freeze on beer tax

BMA alcohol report ‘flawed and flimsy’, says BBPA

BMA calls on government to increase alcohol tax

Welsh leader calls for higher alcohol tax

Treasury ‘black hole’ on beer tax

Community pubs collapsing under red-tape and soaring costs



Police given powers to ban troublesome drinkers from pubs and bars

Oldham orders licence reviews for 22 pubs and clubs

Oldham’s licence review attracts more flak

Government to launch under-age drinking clampdown

ALMR wants ban on below-cost alcohol sales to fight binge drinking

All-you-can-drink offers to be banned

Drinks industry hits back at regulation plans

Official stats reveal fewer than 3% of premises sell alcohol around the clock

MP calls for smaller wine glasses

Ignore crime hysteria, says pub industry

Scottish BMA calls for compulsory labelling on alcohol



Pubs urged to support campaign promoting sensible drinking

Alcohol consumption drops by 3% in 2008

ALMR welcomes Government focus on underage drinkers

Enterprise Inns slams Wetherspoon’s 99p pint

Landlord targets ‘stupidity’ of Wetherspoon with 98p pint

Binge-drinking label unhelpful and unfair, says ALMR

Midweek drinking on the rise as binge drinking falls

In depth: Battle of the binge drinking

BMA alcohol report ‘flawed and flimsy’, says BBPA

Tesco boss is the ‘Godfather’ of binge drinking

Extending hours will not solve binge drinking, says research

Industry denies it’s to blame for UK booze culture

Drinkers against tax rise on alcohol

Scottish pubs and bars face anti-social behaviour charge

Pubs fear fallout from crackdown on underage drinkers

Scottish Government plans supermarket booze crackdown


Binge-drinking on the web


Alcohol Health Alliance

British Medical Association calls for ban on alcohol advertising

Social Issues Research Centre report into binge drinking

Binge-drinking on Wikipedia

In the Know Zone website

Alcohol Concern website

Binge-drinking: Fact sheet from Alcohol Concern

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