Teens saying no to booze, but Richmond tops list for 15-year-olds getting drunk

Drinking alcoholThe soberest 15-year-olds in the country appear to be living in London, with the exception perhaps of the teenagers of Richmond.

A national survey of attitudes and habits of 15-year-olds found that 59% in London say that they have never touched alcohol, the lowest level for any region in England and Wales.

Of those that have drunk alcohol, nearly two thirds say that they are do not drink currently while in the South West of England, the same proportion say they do.

The What About YOUth survey commissioned by the Department of Health reveals that drinking habits are influenced by cultural and ethnic factors and by deprivation levels.

This can be seen in a borough by borough break down of the survey that received responses from around 120,000 teenagers.

When asked if they had ever taken an alcoholic drink just 15% in Tower Hamlets, 20% in Newham and 25% in Brent said yes.  Both boroughs have high levels of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic teenagers in the population, who were found to drink less than white youngsters.  Many Muslims live in these boroughs and drinking alcohol is forbidden by their faith.

Drinking levels were higher in outer London boroughs (including Redbridge, Havering, Bexley, Bromley, Sutton and Kingston), than inner ones and the highest proportion of 15-year-olds who have consumed alcohol was in Richmond.

Teens had a drink

Richmond also has the highest proportion in England and Wales of 15-year-olds who say that they have been drunk in the past month.  38% of those who say that they have tried alcohol say that they have been drunk in the previous 4 weeks.

Teens drunks

The proportion in Richmond is substantially higher than most other London boroughs. Haringey was the only other borough where the rate was above 30%.

Source data

See also

Kensington teenage girls have the most negative body image in England

London losing its thirst for binge drinking

London teen pregnancy rate lowest but more end in abortion


The way we spend our cash – more rent, less alcohol, healthier eating

Credit card payment-2The average family in London spends £616.30 per week, £100 more than the national average, and most of the extra money is spent paying housing costs.

The data for household spending from the Office for National Statistics gives an insight in how households live based upon their spending patterns.

Rent is biggest bill each week for London households costing an average of £96.30 before any benefits are taken into account. That’s double the next nearest region, the South East, and 3 times more than households are paying in Scotland.

Households are spending £67.20 a week on transport, but the way that money is spent is different to the rest of the country. As a big city with a bus, tube and rail network London has the lowest level of spending on running a car and the highest on public transport.

The weekly food bill is £63.20 and reveals our eating habits. Households spent £2.90 on chicken compared to £1.80 on beef. And Londoners spend £3.60 a week on fish, more than any other region.

London households appear more health conscious, as they are the only ones in the UK to spend more on fresh fruit (£4.20) than on cakes and biscuits (£3.60).

They also spend less on alcohol and cigarettes. The average household drinks £7.30 worth of alcohol at home, lower than every region except the West Midland, and only the South West is spending less on smoking.

But while Londoners are saving something on booze at home their bar bills are the among the highest in the country. Average weekly spending on alcohol consumed away from home was £9.50, and eating out accounts for £21 per week.

Gambling appears less popular in London than elsewhere in the country. The average household bets £2.00 a week, the lowest of any region. Londoners spend more on books than anyone else, £1.80 a week, or enough to buy a paperback once a month.

Londoners spend £12.60 per household each week on pampering themselves with visits to the hairdresser, toiletries and hair and beauty products. Women spend £9.60 per week or £499.20 a year on clothing, 25% more than men.

Household spending

The ONS uses data from 2012-2104 to calculate regional averages.

Source data

See also

More “affordable” homes but the rents prove unaffordable for many

London may win for iPhone earning power over Poland but cost of living much higher

How London’s choice of nightlife compares to other cities


How London’s choice of nightlife compares to other cities

dancing-2London is rightly famous for vibrant nightlife but if you want a bar scene Rio’s the place for you, and if you want to shake something then head to Shanghai.

A serious-minded report on the impact of economic growth on culture and the creative industries has thrown up some interesting facts about how London compares with other cities.

It appears that while people in London may like a drink, that’s as nothing compared to the bar scene of some Latin capitals. Madrid has twice the number of drinking establishments of either London or New York. Rio has more than twice the number of Madrid. But the figures really stand out when you look at the number of bars per 100,000 of the population.

Bars per 100k

Our capital does a little better when it comes to restaurants. London has similar number as New York but fewer than Paris. But if you want some choice in eating out then Toyko is then place for you. The Japanese capital has 150,510 restaurants. That’s equivalent to 1 for every 100 people. Depending on the size of the eating places it seems that a fair proportion of Tokyo’s residents could go out to dinner one night.


There’s a bigger clubbing scene is in London than Berlin, but if you’ve got your dancing shoes on then point them to Shanghai which has twice the number of clubs and dance halls as LA.



London appears to be falling down when it comes to live music. With 245 venues London trails behind New York. The data for London on this is from 2011 and recent reports suggest more venues closing.  Australia emerges in the figures as the place to see live bands and singers. Sydney may be a smaller city but it has nearly matched New York for venues, and Melbourne out performs them all.

Live muisc

The French emerge in the data as the most avid cinema-goers with 30% more cinema admissions in Paris than London. It has more cinema screens too, nearly matching Los Angeles, the home of Hollywood.


Data sources

World Cities Culture Forum 2015 report

See also

Economic growth carries risk for culture and creativity, says report

Why the Mayor thinks busking should be music to our ears

London losing its thirst for binge drinking

Drug resistant TB poses health and financial concern

Mycobacterium_tuberculosis_Bacteria,_the_Cause_of_TB_By NIAID [CC BY 2.0 (http-//creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons 2.

Photo: by NIAID CC BY 2.0

London faces a potential health care and treatment funding crisis caused by the development of drug resistant TB.

There were 2,500 cases of tuberculosis in London last year, that’s more than any other western European city. 9% of those cases were resistant to the first line of antibiotics used to fight the infection. And the Health Committee of the London Assembly warns that drug resistance is set to rise.

In its report Tackling TB in London the Health Committee highlights how the risk from TB is increased by the lack of knowledge and the social stigma attached to the disease and it calls on the Mayor to do more to raise awareness.

It also suggests a more unified and consistent approach to treating the infection across the capital. Currently, treatment and prevention is handled at a local level and the approach varies between the 30 clinics. The committee warns that this can lead to a fragmented approach. This is underlined by the fact that only 24 of the 32 boroughs offer universal vaccination against TB to babies.

Cases of TB have risen by 50% in the last 15 years. A third of boroughs have what is classified by the World Health Organisation as a high incidence – that is more than 40 cases per 100,000 people. But in some areas of Newham, Brent, Hounslow, Harrow and Ealing it is over 150, a higher level than many developing world counties such as Rwanda or Iraq.

At borough level, Newham has the highest incidence in London and England, followed by Brent. London accounts for 40% of all TB cases in England.

TB map

TB is caused by bacteria and spread through coughing and sneezing. It most commonly affects the lungs, causing serious illness, and is potentially fatal.

It is treated by a 6-month course of antibiotics that costs around £5,000. Last year £30 million was spent tackling TB in London. Drug resistant strains of the infection require complex treatments often involving hospital care and costs are typically 10 times higher or more.

TB is closely linked to social deprivation with those who are homeless, living in overcrowded conditions, misusing drugs and alcohol, or with weakened immune systems particularly vulnerable.

Many people who are exposed to the tuberculosis bacterium will fight it off or may carry it in their bodies without getting sick. This is known as latent TB.

More than 80% of the cases in London are seen in people born outside the UK, though only a small proportion in those who have recently arrived. The most common countries of origin for non-UK born cases are India, Pakistan and Somalia.

Sufferers may have contracted TB in countries with high incidence and carried the infection in latent form only for it to become active while living in London.   Chronic illness or poor housing and nutrition may have acted as a trigger in these cases.

The rate for non-UK born cases has fallen in recent years but those for UK residents have remained unchanged.

The Health Committee reports says that far from being a disease of London’s past TB continues to present a significant public health challenge.

Source data

Tackling TB in London report

Borough level data

See also

Low drug-related death rates hide middle-aged heroin problem

Sexual infection map shows problems for Lambeth and Southwark

Health and wealth – an East/West divide when it comes to a flu jab


Thirst for craft beers drives an increase in breweries

beerBrewing is booming in London perhaps driven by the current craze for craft beers.

The number of breweries in London has gone up from 45 in 2013 to 76 in 2015. Nearly 90,000 people in the city are now employed in the brewing and pubs sector out of 870,000 across the UK, according to the British Beer and Pub Association. 46% of the people working in the industry are under 24.

While big landmark breweries like Young’s historic Ram Brewery in Wandsworth have closed the expansion in the industry appears to be driven by micro breweries, many of them catering for the growing popularity of craft beers.

But while brewery numbers are increasing pub numbers are falling, according to the British Beer and Pub Association. This year to June 411 pubs closed in London and the South East while 145 new premises opened their doors, a net loss of 266.

This means that many of the new brewers will be looking wider than the pub trade to sell their beer, with some doing deals directly with retailers while other take their sales online.

Source data

See also

London losing its thirst for binge drinking

Homeless Romanians help drive up rough sleeper numbers

Photo: © Slawek Kozakiewicz | Dreamstime.com

Photo: © Slawek Kozakiewicz | Dreamstime.com

There has been a significant increase in the number of people sleeping rough on the streets of London in the past year and the rise is largely driven by people from Central and Eastern Europe.

7,581 homeless people were seen sleeping on the streets from April 2014 to March 2015. That’s a 16% increase on the previous 12 months.  UK nationals make up 43% of that total and their numbers increased by 267 on the previous 12 months.  Central and Eastern European make up 37% of the total and their numbers increased by 728 to 2,695.  Romanians make up nearly half of this group (1,388) and their number has doubled since 2013-14.  Poles are the second largest group of Eastern Europeans.

Rough sleepers are categorised in 3 ways – new people who have not been seen before, people who have been seen a number of times recently and are considered to be living on the streets, and intermittent rough sleepers who may have had contact with support networks previously.

Rough sleepers

All categories are up in the past 12 months with the most significant increase of 20% in intermittent rough sleepers, people back on the street. There had been little change in overall numbers in the previous year.

The data was produced by the Combined Homelessness and Information Network (CHAIN) based on information supplied by outreach workers. CHAIN is funded by the GLA and managed by the charity St Mungos Broadway.

A high percentage of homeless people have problems with alcohol, drugs, mental health issues, or all 3. Outreach workers recorded that 41% needed support for alcohol problems and a similar proportion had mental health issues. 31% had drug problems.

Only 9 children were found sleeping rough in the year. People under 35 make up nearly half the number, but 710 older people, over 55, were discovered.

Nearly all the rough sleepers seen were men, 86%.   151 were former armed services members. 32% had been in prison.

A third of the rough sleepers in London are found in the central area of Westminster. Camden, Tower Hamlets, Lambeth, Southwark and City of London also have significant numbers and only Southwark saw a reduction in the period. 266 people were found sleeping rough at Heathrow Airport. That’s up by 100 on the previous year.

Outreach teams were able to get 2,197 rough sleepers into some form of accommodation. That’s 29%, down from 38% the previous year.

Source data

See also

Landlords reclaim record number of rented homes


London losing its thirst for binge drinking

Drinking alcohol copyBinge drinking has been synonymous with a big night out in boozy Britain for decades.  But data collected from paramedics who pick up the pieces from the most severe cases suggest that London may be getting over its love of inebriated excess.

London’s relationship with alcohol is part of its history and culture. From Hogarth’s hellish 18th century depiction of Gin Lane to rowdy groups swaying and shouting through the West End on the average Saturday night, drink has been a feature of life in the capital.

The latest figures from the London Ambulance Service show that in the 12 months to January 2015 they dealt with 31,000 incidents of alcohol poisioning caused by binge drinking.  That’s a fall of 7% year on year and continues a slow but steady downward trend of the past 4 years.

In some boroughs the fall is much sharper.  Call outs are down by 25% in Redbridge.  Sutton, Waltham Forest, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Greenwich have all seen falls of 20% or more. The call out figures are down in 26 of the capital’s 33 boroughs.

It’s a different story in Barking and Dagenham where there has been a 15% rise in ambulance call outs for drinking.  Hounslow, Hillingdon, Havering, Richmond and Brent have also seen a rise in the number of incidents.

Dealing with binge drinking is a huge draw on ambulance service resources.  At the same time there has been a sharp rise in emergency calls for heroin and cocaine overdoses.  In the last year there were 700 calls.  But alcohol is still the so-called recreational drug that takes up the bulk of the time of hard-pressed ambulance crews.

Date Source

Note: The figures are based on retrospective reports by paramedics/ambulance staff and 999 call handlers who defined a call out as binge-drinking related.  Incidents involving people over 40 are not captured in this data.