CONSUMPTION of alcohol has fallen to its lowest level in Burton and South Derbyshire this century, according to a new report.
The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) revealed that people drinking beer in the pub or at home in the area fell by 1.7 per cent in past year, and the figure has dropped by a massive 18.1 per cent since 2004.
The dramatic fall – which equates to the equivalent of 110 glasses of wine a year or 73 pints of beer – has been blamed on rising prices driven by inflation-busting increases in tax and duty.
The survey also revealed that the number of 11 to 15-years-olds who have tried alcohol in both areas had dropped to 39 per cent, compared to 43 per cent in 2012 and 61 per cent in 2001.
Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive, said: "It's great to see trends in alcohol harms coming down, showing that investment by the industry and partnership with Government, through targeted measures, is having a positive impact.
"There are certainly positives for beer in the data, with greater beer choice for beer drinkers than ever before.
"But despite the recent cuts in beer duty, Britain's consumers are still subject to some of the highest tax rates for beer in the EU.
"Let's hope we see another tax cut next year."
The figures, which use information from HMRC and the Office for National Statistics, cover pubs as well as shop-bought drinks.
Price is likely to be major factor, as the cost of drink in Britain is among the highest in Europe after successive governments increased duty and tax at above the rate of inflation, under pressure from doctors and the police, as part of a policy to tackle binge drinking.
Current chancellor, George Osborne, has rowed back a little on this by making cuts to beer duty.
However, the UK still has among the highest drink taxes in Europe, which work out at around 53p on a pint of beer and £2.36 on a bottle of wine.
Earlier this year the Government implemented a new policy requiring stores to stop using cut-price alcohol to tempt customers in.This was done by introducing a new regime banning them from selling drink at less than the cost of duty plus VAT.