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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 December 2004, 17:01 GMT
UK tops G7 Christmas booze chart
Image of man drinking
Alcohol consumption in the UK goes up 41% around Christmas
Alcohol consumption rises around Christmas by a wider margin in the UK than in any other leading Western country, a new survey has found.

In December, Britons drink 41% more than the annual monthly average - but have the lowest increase in drink-driving deaths.

Numbers of suicides fall everywhere, with the most substantial drops in Italy and Japan.

The study has been carried out by the British think tank Policy Exchange.

It compares figures on a broad range of subjects across the G7 countries (USA, Japan, Germany, UK, France, Italy and Canada).

While people are less inclined to take their own lives in the festive season, they are more likely to kill others.

Murder rates for December rise significantly in Germany (by 6.4%), the US, France, Italy (5.7% for all three), the UK (4.2%), and Canada (3.6%).

But overall, the US has the highest murder rate in absolute terms (0.74 per 100,000 inhabitants) and Japan the lowest (0.10 per 100,000 inhabitants).

Christmas Mass

Despite drinking more around Christmas than at any other time of the year, Britain records a relatively small increase in fatal drink-driving accidents in December: 18% compared to 35% in France, 27% in Italy and 20% in Germany and Canada.

Britons are also more inclined to spend their Christmas break abroad - almost 19% spend their holidays in places with a milder climate, the top three destinations being Spain, France and Greece.

Church attendance increases by 240% in Germany, followed by the UK (220%), Italy (188%) and France (186%).

But the most zealous church-goers are the Americans, with more than half of the population attending service in December.

Finally, Britons buy more Christmas presents online than their fellow G7 members, with 3.4% of overall December retail spending taking place online.


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