UK drinkers have upped their intake of alcohol by an average of 5 units per week compared to pre-coronavirus levels, hitting wallets to the tune of £512 ($708.28).
New research from life insurance comparison site Reassured asked 2,028 UK residents about changes to their lifestyle choices over lockdown.
When it comes to alcohol, Brits have enjoying a drink in larger quantities over the last 12 months. UK drinkers have been consuming 14 units of alcohol per week during lockdown, a 43% increase on the 9 units per week drunk prior to lockdown.
The additional 5 units of alcohol per week equates to the equivalent of almost an extra 2 pints of lager or an extra half a bottle of wine each week, the research found.
The research also split the average increase down by city. Citizens of Leeds have been drinking an average of 20 units per week during lockdown, more than any other city. This was twice as much as their pre-lockdown average of 10 units per week and 35% more than the NHS recommended weekly intake.
Those in Southampton have been drinking the least, averaging 10 units per week.
While it is understandable that people have been drinking more due to the stresses of lockdown life, it also seems that the majority of drinkers intend to continue with their increased alcohol consumption, even once lockdown restrictions have lifted.
Over half (51%) of respondents stated that they won’t be reducing their alcohol intake back down to the levels previously drunk before lockdown started once the pubs and restaurants reopen, with a further 1 in 10 intending to drink even more.
The increase in drinking during lockdown will equate to an additional £322 a year for UK beer drinkers and an additional £190 a year for UK wine drinkers for those planning on continuing their increased consumption now pubs and restaurants have reopened.
For Beer drinkers the highest increase will be in Leeds, with drinkers spending an additional £584 a year on alcohol, with London beer drinkers in second place at an additional £518 a year.
Leeds also sees the highest increase for wine drinkers, with an additional £366 spent if lockdown habits are carried over once lockdown measures are lifted. Norwich wine drinkers will spend an additional £292.
Steve Marshall, CEO at Reassured, said: “Living through the pandemic has been a very stressful time for many, so it is not surprising that more of us are looking to indulge in our personal vices in greater quantities than usual.
“Now that we are beginning to see the government’s roadmap out of lockdown start to roll out, our research indicates that the majority of those heading out to socialise will be looking to ‘make up for lost drinking time’ now that outdoor pubs and restaurants can welcome customers back.
“This will be welcome news for the hospitality sector, as the public look set to celebrate the road out of lockdown with loved ones.”
The news comes as hospitality bosses have urged prime minister Boris Johnson to stick with the current dates on the government's roadmap to reopening. The bosses also expressed concern at plans to roll out COVID passports in order to get the economy reopened sooner.
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