Matt Lambert, CEO of the Portman Group – the alcohol social responsibility body and marketing regulator said:

“Public Health Scotland’s latest data reaffirms a body of research that shows overall alcohol consumption fell during 2020.

“Yet in contrast alcohol-related deaths tragically increased which may in part be due to the heaviest drinkers finding it harder to access support. There is a duty of care to now focus on targeted measures for the minority, those who were already drinking at the heaviest and most harmful rates, who then increased their drinking as the impact of the pandemic compounded existing problems.

“Finally, we would be interested to understand why this report focuses on alcohol sales while downplaying the Scottish Government’s own studies on actual alcohol consumption that shows a persistent fall in drinking rates for over a decade. With the majority of people in Scotland drinking an average of 12.1 units a week, below the CMO low risk guidelines of 14 units per week, it is important to view drinking rates accurately and address this within policy making.”

Data: Scottish Government Health Survey shows the average alcohol consumption in 12.1 units a week compared to the CMO low risk guidelines of 14 units per week.