Official says Britons like getting drunk too much

Attempts to wean Britons away from binge drinking toward a more continental European "café style" culture may never work because too many like getting drunk, a cabinet minister said Sunday.

03 Jan 2007

"I don't know whether we'll ever get to be in a European drinking culture, where you go out and have a single glass of wine," Labor Party chair Hazel Blears said.

"Maybe it's our Anglo-Saxon mentality. We actually enjoy getting drunk," she told the Sunday Times newspaper in an interview.

Britain introduced extended drinking hours last November in a bid to tackle the country's binge drinking problem where people consumed large amounts of alcohol in a short space of time.

Proponents of the changes to the licensing laws had argued it would usher in more civilized drinking habits like those of France or Spain.

But as pubs and clubs prepare for the second New Year's Eve under the new laws, there has been little sign that people are drinking more responsibly.

Blears said the continued binge drinking culture was worrying.

"People are getting quite serious health conditions earlier – things like liver problems in their twenties and thirties that perhaps before only came out in their forties and fifties."

Blears, a former junior Home Office minister responsible for tackling problem drinking, told the newspaper more needed to be done to educate people about the dangers of alcohol abuse.

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