61% of UK adults say excessive drinking is a problem in their neighbourhood

A YouGov survey has revealed that 61% of UK adults believe thatexcessive drinking is a problem (from minor to major) in theirneighbourhood.

The survey, carried out on behalf of three major British Churches,asked people to judge the effects of alcohol on the area withinwalking distance from their home, or where they use localfacilities.

The Baptist Union of Great Britain, the Methodist Church and theUnited Reformed Church have expressed concerns about the increasingavailability of cheap alcohol and the effect that this might behaving on communities across Britain. They believe that enforcing aminimum per-unit price could be part of the solution to thisproblem, a move that has been backed by health watchdog, theNational Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE).

"We know that it's people in local communities that bear the bruntof the easy availability of cheap alcohol," said Ruth Pickles,Vice-President of the Methodist Conference and a former alcoholmisuse counsellor. "It affects their health services, theirstreets, their families and friends. As Christians, we want to workwithin communities to help find solutions that really work andprotect those most vulnerable."

Although the UK Government shows no sign of enforcing a minimumper-unit price nationally, the initiative is being considered by anumber of local councils, including Greater Manchester, Lancashireand Merseyside.

"It's encouraging to see local authorities taking the initiative inconsidering this important issue," said the Revd Dr Kirsty Thorpe,Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Reformed Church."We would like many more councils to take action in response to thealarming rise in liver damage in younger people. Cheap alcohol isthe real issue here. This problem is costing the NHS around £2.7billion per year."

"Removing cheap alcohol is a vital first step," added the RevdJonathan Edwards, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of GreatBritain. "The crucial need is to get to grips with the reason forexcessive drinking. For some it is a form of protest againstsociety, for others it is a personal cry for help. We need tolisten harder and find ways in which we can encourage a sense ofpurpose and self-worth which makes excessive drinkingunnecessary."

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Totalsample size was 2132 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 14th- 16th November 2011. The survey was carried out online. Thefigures have been weighted and are representative of all UK adults(aged 18+).