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Scottish alcohol consumption up as off-trade prices stall says health body's report

Published:  27 August, 2015

A report from NHS Health Scotland shows a 1% increase in alcohol consumption last year.

The average adult Scot drank 10.7 litres of pure alcohol in 2014, up from 10.6 litres the year before. The health body said this equates to 41 bottles of vodka, 114 bottles of wine or 470 pints of beer per person.

The report shows a flattening out of a recent downward trend. Per capita consumption was 11.7 litres of pure alcohol in 2007, the peak since records began in 1994, when the figure stood at 10.1 litres.

The average price per unit of alcohol was 52p, unchanged on 2013 and the first time there has not been an annual increase since 2007. Some 72% of Scottish alcohol sales are through the off-trade.

NHS Health Scotland said that more than half of these sales were below the 50p per unit minimum price proposed by the Scottish government.

Dr Mark Robinson, public health information manager at NHS Health Scotland, said: "It is concerning that the recent falls in population alcohol consumption have not continued and that off-trade alcohol sales may be starting to rise gain.

"This has coincided with increasing disposable incomes and wider economic conditions that have kept the price of off-sales alcohol low.

"Higher levels of alcohol consumption result in higher levels of alcohol-related harm and these present a substantial public health and economic cost to Scotland."