PHE report on alcohol consumption and harm during the COVID-19 pandemic

Our response to the PHE report on alcohol consumption and harm during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes our research conducted in May and August 2020.

This research found that the moderate majority, 88% of UK drinkers, were consuming the same, less or had stopped drinking alcohol altogether, this has been consistently evident throughout the pandemic.

Matt Lambert, CEO of the Portman Group, the social responsibility and regulatory body for alcohol in the UK, commented:

“This report’s finding on pandemic drinking behaviour is consistent with many others. The moderate majority continued to drink the same, or less than before, while it was mainly the small minority who were already drinking at heavier rates who increased their drinking with tragic consequences – this was shown in the Portman Group and others research which the PHE cited.

“The pandemic created a perfect storm where harmful drinking was concerned.  COVID-19 restrictions appear to have cut off social and professional support to highest harm drinkers, or deterred these most vulnerable people from seeking help in the first instance. We urge the Government to renew its focus on measures aimed at supporting these people.

“On alcohol sales the volume fell by over 10% (Euromonitor 2021) as many people who drink in pubs and clubs chose not to drink or didn’t buy as much from retailers.”