24-hour alcohol licences at record high

women drinking

New Home Office figures have revealed that the number of shops with a licence to sell alcohol at any time of the night or day jumped another 5% to 2,100 this year. This is 400 more than three years ago, and is the highest number of shops with these freedoms since records began. The number of pubs and bars with 24 hour licences is soaring too.

So what is this costing us?
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The figures revealed that corner shops were driving the trend - some 1,027 of the shops with 24-hour alcohol licences are convenience stores. This compares to 963 large supermarkets. The number of pubs and bars with round-the-clock licences, meanwhile, went up more than a fifth to 1,100.

Taken together there are now 8,900 places you can stop off for some booze if you happen to get thirsty at 4am on a Saturday.

But what is this costing us?

It costs drinkers a small fortune. Research from PruHealth found that the average Londoner spends £22 a week on alcohol, while those in the south spend £18, and in the Midlands, Scotland and Wales they spend £17. However, 7% of men said they regularly drink £40 worth of alcohol a week.

Having so many opportunities to continue drinking late into the night is not doing anything to lower these figures. It means that heavy drinkers are not discouraged by closing time, and that those who have already drunk too much to make good decisions have plenty of opportunities to buy even more.

It costs society a great deal too. The Royal College of Physicians has calculated that the NHS spends a shocking £3 billion a year dealing with illness and injury caused by drink. They say that up to 12% of everything the NHS spends can be attributed to drink.

Alcohol Concern estimates the cost of alcohol-related crime at £11 billion a year. This includes the cost of trying to prevent trouble, dealing with those who commit crimes when under the influence, and picking up the pieces.

And lost productivity and absenteeism because of alcohol was shown to cost the economy 14 million working days and up to £6.4 billion each year when it was last researched by the government.

However, in among all of this, it's worth bearing in mind that by far the majority of people drink sensibly. For them, the ability to buy alcohol when they are taking advantage of 24-hour shopping is very useful. They might also need to pop into the corner shop for a bottle of wine when they have unexpected guests. Or they may be treated to a bucks fizz at breakfast for a special occasion. The spread of 24-hour licences has brought more convenience into their jam-packed lives.

But what do you think? is this worth the cost?

17 PHOTOS
Zoopla properties with wine cellars
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24-hour alcohol licences at record high

Uverdale Road, London SW10, £2,250,000

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/16892528

Park Avenue, Farnborough Park, Orpington BR6, £3,500,000

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/15950221

Bedford Road, Chiswick, London W4, £4,750,000

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/17064485

Loom Lane, Radlett, Herts WD7, £7,500,000

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/17009041

Chelsea Park Gardens, London SW3, £11,250,000

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/16364694

Lampton House Close, Wimbledon Village SW19

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/17115167

South Terrace, London SW7, £6,500,000

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/17300984

Western Avenue, Branksome Park, Poole, Dorset BH13, £4,950,000

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/13904179

Wandle Road, London SW17, £3,750,000

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/17380688

Slindon, Arundel, West Sussex BN18

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/17153033

Hendrick Avenue, London SW12, £2,675,000

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/15469330

Surlingham, Norwich NR14, £1,950,000

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/16903096

Kenilworth Road, Coventry CV4, £1,300,000

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/17407066

Lewknor, Watlington, Oxfordshire OX49, £995,000

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/11660557

Chapeltown, Turton, Bolton, Lancashire BL7, £995,000

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/15403956

Brock Street, Bath BA1, £885,000

http://www.zoopla.co.uk/for-sale/details/16206598

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