Edinburgh has double number of Glasgow pubs

Edinburgh has a huge number of booze outlets. Picture: Jacky Ghossein
Edinburgh has a huge number of booze outlets. Picture: Jacky Ghossein
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The Capital has almost twice as many licensed premises per square kilometre than Glasgow, new research has revealed.

A report also found that the most deprived neighbourhoods have more off-licences and shops selling tobacco than wealthier areas.

Experts at Edinburgh University believe the pattern may be a contributing factor to inequalities in rates of alcohol and tobacco-related disease.

Glasgow has an average of 13.7 alcohol outlets, 9.8 tobacco outlets and 4.3 off-sales per square km, while Edinburgh has an average of 22 alcohol, 11.9 tobacco and 5.7 off-sales.

The findings will be presented today at the three-day Global Alcohol Policy Conference in Edinburgh, at which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will deliver the keynote speech.

Parts of Restalrig, Lochend, Leith and Newhaven were in the top ten per cent most deprived neighbourhoods in Scotland and have some of the highest availability of alcohol and tobacco.

A neighbourhood in the Old Town, including Leith Street, has 198.5 alcohol, 86.6 tobacco and 24.9 off-sales per sq km.

Meanwhile, Craiglockart, the Grange, Cramond and Balerno had some of the lowest levels of deprivation and numbers of alcohol and tobacco outlets.

Scotland has an average of eight alcohol outlets, 5.3 tobacco outlets and 2.5 off-sales per sq km.

One in five deaths in Scotland is caused by tobacco use, while one in 20 is linked to alcohol. Deprived neighbourhoods have higher rates of death and ill health caused by alcohol and tobacco use than more affluent areas.

Dr Niamh Shortt, senior lecturer in human geography at Edinburgh University, who led the study, said: “We need to alter the environments in which people live, including restricting the availability of these products. Failing to tackle a broader set of factors, including retail environments, may exacerbate health inequalities.”

Chas Booth, Green councillor for Leith and a member of Edinburgh’s licensing board, said the city must be “more rigorous” in tackling the problem.

“Until we start to tackle the availability, as well as the cost, of booze,” he said, “this problem will get worse, and will have a greater impact on our most deprived citizens. The bottom line is, Edinburgh licensing board must take its responsibilities seriously to examine the health impacts of any new licence applications we receive.”

Researchers believe that reducing the concentration of shops selling these products could improve public health and address health inequalities.

A council spokeswoman said: “Applications for new off-sales are carefully considered, and decisions may be influenced by factors such as existing provision and the number of similar outlets nearby. The heath and wellbeing of residents and visitors is very important to us, which is why we work closely with the police and health professionals to tackle problems such as antisocial behaviour.”