The Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA) has hit back at NHS Health Scotland after it produced figures claiming that drinkers north of the border are consuming twice as much alcohol as they were five years ago.
NHS Health Scotland has re-calculated figures from a 2003 Scottish Health Survey, taking into account larger measure and higher strength beer.
Five years ago the survey said that 27% of men and 14% of women exceeded the recommended weekly intake of 21 and 14 units respectively.
According to the updated figures 34% of men and 23% of women are exceeding the drinking limit in Scotland.
Patrick Browne, chief executive of SBPA, said it was “fundamentally wrong” to apply the new research methodology to 2003 data.
“The updated methodology was to reflect the measures as they were in 2007, not as they were in 2003,” he said. “As such, this approach is wrong and adds little to the debate which we need to have about alcohol in Scotland.”
But Shona Robison, Scottish minister for public health, insisted the new figures highlighted the importance of the issue.
“We have to dispel the myth that alcohol-related harm is a marginal problem, that it affects only those with chronic alcohol dependency, or so-called 'binge drinkers',” she said.
“We need to rebalance Scotland's relationship with alcohol and enable people to make more positive choices about their alcohol use.”
The re-calculated research comes ahead of Scottish Government proposals for tackling alcohol misuse which will be consulted on in the summer.
By Christopher Walton
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