The gap between the drinking habits of Scots and the rest of the UK is widening, research suggests.
A report by NHS Health Scotland found that last year consumption of pure alcohol was 23 per cent higher among over-16s in Scotland than those in England and Wales – up from a 21 per cent gap in 2009.
The gap is the widest ever seen since figures were first recorded in 1994. Health campaigners said it highlighted the need for Scotland to take action to increase the price of alcohol.
But the alcohol industry pointed out that the total amount of alcohol consumed in Scotland in the last five years had remained largely unchanged.
Pressure has grown in recent years for Scotland to take action to combat its harmful relationship with alcohol, including a failed bid by the last SNP government to introduce a minimum price for alcohol.