COVID-19: Nearly half of UK adults going through pandemic job loss are drinking more alcohol - survey

Nearly half of adults in the UK going through job loss are drinking more than they would have done before the pandemic, a new survey suggests.

Research by the charity Drinkaware shows 49% of people who have been made redundant - or are in the process of being made redundant - are consuming more alcohol than they did before March 2020.

This is up from 38% since December, the poll of 4,000 people between 27 and 30 April showed.

The figures could be set to increase next month when the government's furlough scheme is reduced - before it ends completely on 30 September.

Nationally drinking levels have gone up across the board, with people consuming 20% more on average.

Two thirds (66%) who are drinking high-risk levels of alcohol, which is more than 34 units a week for women and 50 for men, are drinking more than they did before the pandemic.

Among parents with children under 18, 33% are drinking more than usual - up from 24% in December - and 10% "much more".

Drinkaware is calling for alcohol harm to be included in public health strategies, as trends showed an "increased polarisation" in drinking habits by the end of 2020, it said.

Its evidence and impact director Annabelle Bonus added: "Our survey shows that there are clear differences in the drinking habits across certain groups of the UK population, signalling a clear need for targeted action and appropriate support.

"It is concerning that the proportion of adults drinking more since the start of the pandemic has increased from December to April and we must ensure that people drinking more since lockdown began get the help and support that they need if we are to reverse this trend."