London’s ethnically diverse population has been credited with the capital having the lowest percentage of regular alcohol drinkers of any British region.
New figures published today by the Office for National Statistics show that 47.0% of Londoners say they drank in the previous week, lower than in any other English region, Scotland or Wales, and that Londoners as a whole are less likely to “binge drink” than drinkers outside the capital.
Just under a quarter (24.5%) of drinkers in the capital say they “binged” on their heaviest drinking day, 16% fewer than the North East which has the highest level.
The ONS suggests London’s status as one of the UK’s most ethnically diverse areas could explain its low levels of drinking relative to other areas.
It says drinking in the past week is more common among those who reported being White (61.5%) but that among those who identified as any other ethnicity, drinking levels dropped to just over a quarter (25.7%).
It also found that “the level of teetotalism is lower amongst those who are White (15.7%) compared with all other ethnicity groups (56.0%).”
Last month London Mayor Sadiq Khan lamented the fact that the number of pubs in London had fallen by 25% since 2001 and promised to “stem the rate of closures”.
He added: “I’ve made safeguarding and growing the night-time economy a key priority and this simply isn’t possible without a thriving pub scene.”
However the Mayor could be fighting a losing battle as the ONS also found that regular drinking is now at “the lowest level seen” since it started collecting figures in 2005, casting doubt on the pub sector’s longterm viability.