Excessive drinking increasingly tied to affluence

Data published by the UK government’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) show among other things that excessive alcohol consumption is increasingly associated with affluence. There is also an indication in the figures that overall consumption is falling.

So what does the correlation between earnings and alcohol use tell us about the effect of taxation? More research on this and related questions would be useful. This would necessarily involve looking at countries in which alcohol taxes are higher than in Britain (which already has some of the highest tax rates in Europe for booze).

We hear repeated calls for the banning of supermarket discounting of alcohol, but from what I can see this tends to be on bottled and canned beers consumed largely by the ‘lower orders’ while watching the telly or partying. The sozzled upper classes are instead drinking pricier wines and spirits. How high would alcohol duty rates need to be before the wealthy are put off filling their shopping trollies with bottles?

See here for the ONS press release, at the bottom of which you will find links to the full studies for the years 2006 and 2007. BBC News has also reported this story.