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Home arrow Market Research Findings arrow Alcoholic Drinks arrow Public back extended drinking hours - but fear the consequences
Public back extended drinking hours - but fear the consequences PDF Print E-mail
Written by BMRB   
28 Aug 2005
Two thirds of all adults aged over 18 think it reasonable for closing time in pubs and bars to be midnight or later, according to latest findings from a national survey by the British Market Research Bureau (BMRB).

This independent survey was conducted in the wake of recent publicity, amid fears among some judges, police and MPs that extended opening hours would lead to an increase in binge drinking, violence and anti-social behaviour.

Awareness of the new legislation is high – 90 % of adults are aware of the prospect that drinking hours will be extended. Later licensing is generally a popular prospect amongst British adults even though most think that it could have a negative impact on the country.

What is a reasonable time to close pubs and bars?
Just under a third (32%) of GB adults think that the current closing time of 11pm is acceptable for pubs and bars. 30% think closing time should be extended to midnight. A further 34% think it OK for pubs and bars to close after midnight (including 12% who back 24 hour opening). In all, almost two-thirds (64%) think that closing time from midnight onwards is reasonable.

Among 18-34 year olds only 16% believe 11pm is a reasonable closing time while 40% of this group opt for 2am or later. Half of those aged 55 or over still prefer the traditional closing time of 11pm.

The negative view of late licensing, especially among the elderly
Despite the high level of support for late licensing, 59% of all adults do not agree with the statement: “overall do you think late licensing will be good thing for Britain?” This negative view is especially high among women (70%) and those aged 55 plus (76%). Just over half of 18-34s (51%) do agree that late licensing is a good idea, rising to 62% for 18-34 year old men.

About three-quarters of adults think that extended licensing will cause an increase in each of the following: anti social behaviour; alcohol-related illness and violence. Two thirds think it will cause an increase in binge-drinking.

Those aged 65 plus appear to be overwhelmingly against late drinking, with 82% of them not thinking that it is a good idea for Britain. This view is backed by 9 out of 10 believing it will cause an increase in: anti social behaviour, alcohol-related illness and violence.

There is much greater consensus across age-groups on one aspect – that extended opening hours would lead to increased profits for the drink industry (82%) rising to 90% among 18-24 yr olds.

Timing of the new laws
In terms of when the new legislation should come into effect, 30% believe November 24th to be about right, 11% think it should be postponed until next year, with 16% of the opinion it should be postponed until binge drinking has been brought under control. However 39% of all adults feel it should be postponed indefinitely – this figure rises to nearly two thirds (60%) of all those aged 65 or over.

Who will drink after 11.00pm
If the new laws come into effect on November 24th, just under a third (30%) of all adults intend to drink after 11.00pm, rising to 51% of 18-34s. Just over two thirds of all adults (68%) do not intend to drink after 11.00pm, rising to 91% among those aged 65 or over.

Steve Cooke, marketing director BMRB, Tel: 020 8433 4381
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
Shireen Crowe, Press Office, Tel: 020 7566 7020

BMRB is one of the largest market research agencies in the UK and is a key operating company within the KMR Group. For more, visit

The KMR Group is an integrated global research, information and software group. It manages research operations in over 30 countries worldwide, specialising in media and survey research solutions, and analysis software systems.

KMR is a division of the Millward Brown Group, part of Kantar, the information, insight and consultancy arm of WPP.

Survey Details
968 adults aged 18+ were interviewed by telephone between 12th and 14th August 2005. The results were weighted to be representative of the GB population.

The questions asked were;
Are you aware that current drinking laws will be relaxed in November, allowing pubs to extend their opening hours beyond 11pm?
Do you think extended opening hours will cause an increase in the following?
Violent Behaviour
Antisocial behaviour
Alcohol Related Illness
Binge Drinking
Profits for the Drinks Industry
What do you think is a reasonable time for bars and pubs to close?
Overall do you think late licensing will be good thing for Britain?
The new licensing comes into effect on Nov 24th Do you think the timing:
Is about right
Should be postponed until next year
Should be postponed until binge drinking has been brought under control
Should be postponed indefinitely
Assuming licensing hours are extended from November 24th onwards, how likely are you to drink after 11.00pm??

Last Updated ( 28 Aug 2005 )
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