Britons ‘Not Ready To Drink Less’

Britons are incapable of emulating the European drinking culture because they “enjoy getting drunk,” says Labour Chairman Hazel Blears. She told the Sunday Times people enjoyed “risk-taking” and “want to push the limits of danger”. She adds that “maybe it’s our Anglo-Saxon mentality” and that there are no “easy answers”.

The government had hoped the introduction of 24-hour licensing laws would create a new drinking culture.

Ms Blears compared British drinking habits to those on the Continent, claiming people abroad were able to drink much less when out socially.

“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. Maybe it’s our Anglo-Saxon mentality, ” she said.

But Ms Blears says the new drinking laws have not been as catastrophic as predicted by police and opposition politicians.

“The 24-hour drinking was supposed to be the end of life as we know it. That hasn’t happened,” she said. “The health implications worry me. 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. I think we’ve got to do more education now – that has to be the absolute priority.”

Ms Blears is a former Home Office minister who had responsibility for tackling binge drinking.

Round-the-clock opening for pubs and bars was introduced in November 2005.