As pubs close, 'youth stay away'

The number of young people regularly drinking in pubs has slumped over the past few years as thousands of locals have closed, according to research.

A study of the drinking habits of 18 to 24-year-olds by real ale campaign group Camra shows that the number visiting pubs at least once a week has fallen from 38% to 16% in the past seven years.

During this time over 8,000 pubs have closed across the UK, with campaigners blaming higher taxes on beer.

Camra, which is holding its annual Great British Beer Festival in London, said that despite the falling numbers of youngsters going to pubs, more young people are trying real ale, especially women.

Mike Benner, Camra's chief executive, said: "Hard working publicans have been hammered by the Government in recent times and what we've seen in the past seven years is that young adults in particular have been priced out of an affordable night down their local pub.

"The Government have encouraged people to use their pubs as community assets, yet this is a hollow message when punitive increases on the price of a pint have meant that consumers are deterred from visiting their local, causing beer sales figures in this country to fall flat."

Camra said one in two regular pub goers now prefer to drink at home because it is cheaper, highlighting a 42% rise in beer tax since 2008.

The real ale group has an e-petition in an attempt to trigger a debate in Parliament about tax on beer.

The study was based on 1,000 adults including almost 150 aged between 18 and 24.