TEXT OF STORY
Bob Moon: Let’s just say this is counter-intuitive: the economic downturn has been driving the Brits away from drinking. Spending on booze in the U.K. is down by a record amount. From London, Marketplace’s Stephen Beard has more.
Stephen Beard: This is not supposed to happen. Tougher times should mean more people hit the bottle. But Britain’s Office of National Statistics says the latest figures show the opposite. Sales of wine spirits and beer in the U.K. have dropped. They fell by more than 6 percent last year, the largest fall in almost 50 years.
The alcohol industry blames economizing by consumers during the recession, and a 25 percent hike in alcohol taxes over the past two years. Stephen Barton runs Brand Phoenix, one of Britain’s biggest wine distributors:
Stephen Barton: No other industry has experienced a tax hit as the alcohol industry have in the most and steepest recession we’ve seen in a generation.
Health campaigners, however, have welcomed the drop in alcohol sales. They claim that alcohol abuse costs the state run National Health Service more than $4 billion a year.
In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.