HC Deb 14 March 1917 vol 91 cc1115-6W

asked the Minister of Munitions if he can state the convictions for drunkenness in the areas scheduled by the Central Control Board for the years 1913, 1914, and 1916, giving separately the figures for men and women; if he can state the amount of absolute alcohol consumed in the United Kingdom for each of these years in the form of beer, spirits, and wine, respectively; and if he has any information as to the distribution of the responsibility for drunkenness among these three forms of alcohol?


The convictions for drunkenness in London and forty other cities and towns in Great Britain, of a population exceeding 100,000, which came under the Orders of the Central Control Board between August, 1915, and September, 1916, are approximately as follows:

1913. 1914. 1915. 1916.
Men 119,000 115,000 88,000 53,000
Women 40,000 41,000 38,000 24,000
Total 159,000 156,000 126,000 77,000

The corresponding figures for the areas are not available.

The total volume of absolute alcohol consumed during these years was approximately:

1913 92,000,000
1914 89,000,000
1915 81,000,000
1916 73,000,000

I am circulating a Table showing how these figures are divided between beer, wine, and spirits.

With regard to the third part of the question, evidence is extremely difficult to obtain, but inquiries have been and are being made in various localities. The results of these inquiries naturally vary considerably according to the drinking habits of different parts of the country. In a representative southern area 40 per cent. of the causes of drunkenness investigated were attributed to beer, ale or stout; 43 per cent. to spirits; 10 per cent. to beer and spirits mixed; 4 per cent. to other drinks, including wine; in 3 per cent. of the cases no evidence was obtainable as to the cause of inebriety.

The following Table shows approximately the volume of absolute alcohol contained (1) in the standard barrels of beer charged with duty; (2) in the spirits duty-paid for home consumption; (3) in the wine cleared for home consumption in the years mentioned. In the case of wine the calculation is made on the basis of wine containing an average volume of 17.2 per cent. absolute alcohol:

(1) Beer. (2) Spirits. (3) Wine.
1913 72,000,000 18,000,000 1,965,000
1914 69,000,000 18,000,000 1,778,000
1915 59,000,000 20,000,000 1,760,000
1916 55,000,000 16,000,000 1,720,000