Is Leeds Britain’s boozer?

Drinking is on the decline for under twenty-five year olds, but Leeds has over two thousand licensed premises to sell alcohol – three times the national average.

By Jay Partington

bottles of alcohol and draught taps on a bar

Alcohol consumption has decreased since 2005. Credit: Pexels

According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), over half  of over 16-year-olds have admitted to drinking regularly, with Yorkshire and The Humber having the highest amount in the UK (61%).

Even though Yorkshire and The Humber have a huge student population, 16 to 24-year-olds are less likely to drink than any other age group. Although when this age group does drink, they tend to consume more and binge drink more than any other age group.

Only 20.4% of UK residents say they never drink alcohol. The highest earners as well as managerial and professional occupations are the most likely to drink.

Leeds has a rising number of pubs and off-licenses opening – which means more alcohol being sold and being made readily available. In Leeds there are 4.3 licensed premises per square kilometre. This is three times the UK average.

The younger generation

Under twenty-fives are the most likely to binge and harm themselves through drinking. Leeds has a huge student presence and a massive amount of bars and pubs. Is it all too easy to binge drink in Leeds?

Leeds Hacks spoke to Sheanna from the Leeds Beckett Student Union bar. She found there are “more students than ever” visiting the SU bar. I visited during lunch time and business appeared to be booming as the rooms were full of students.

“I think university is the time to get drunk with your friends and have a good time,” Sheanna added. She found the idea of under twenty-fives drinking less to be false and assured Leeds Hacks that the SU bar is packed full of students on a daily basis.

So this is certainly one place that appears to be bucking the national trend for teetotal teens and anti-alcoholics.

So is there anybody under twenty-five that can support this study?

two pints of lager on a wooden table

Pints seem to be too cheap and readily available. Credit: Pixabay

The teetotallers 

The national study can’t be lying. There are still almost a quarter of 16 to 24-year-olds who do not drink. Leeds Hacks spoke to Rebecca Ure, who has been trying to steer clear of alcohol for over a month now. She said there is “too much temptation” and “it’s all too easy” to buy booze at a young age.

Living in a student area such as Hyde Park and Headingley, a young person is spoilt for choice when shopping for alcohol. With a thriving nightlife and loads of bars surrounding her, Rebecca said she’s resisting and she’s going to do “Dry January” on top of her current abstinence.

Being in the under twenty-fives category, Rebecca said she feels “odd” for not drinking and hopes “more people go teetotal” after seeing the “dangers and health problems” of alcohol.

Dry January

Dry January is where people give up alcohol for the month to see how much money they save and if they feel better physically and mentally. Some even do it for charity and get their friends and family to donate.

It’s easy to see why younger people are giving up the bottle as alcohol is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability for people aged 15-49.

If you’re interested in Dry January, click the link for their website.

About the Author

This article was produced by a student or students on the BA in Journalism at Leeds Beckett University.

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