Statement on OECD report on alcohol consumption in the UK

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

“Overall, the results of this report reflect the wealth of research conducted throughout the pandemic that most people did not change how much they drank, supporting our most recent research which showed 73% of UK drinkers had consumed the same or less alcohol as before COVID-19.

“We are concerned by some of the figures relating to the UK and the policy recommendations suggested as a consequence, our focus should be targeted on the small number of people drinking at the highest levels of alcohol harm. On sales, the OECD points only to duty receipts to say that sales increased without taking into account real life sales data. Euromonitor data shows alcohol sales in the UK fell by over 10%, the second highest fall in Europe, which supports the trend seen by Public Health Scotland that alcohol sales fell overall in both Scotland and England.

“The assertions made surrounding reduced alcohol consumption and efficacy of the vaccine are particularly concerning. The MHRA confirmed that alcohol has no bearing on the vaccine’s effectiveness and any suggestions to the contrary could have damaging effects on vaccine uptake.”