As Salford's pubs get tinned up and pulled down, it's leading to a new problem of under-age drinking and alcohol-related illness, according to a new report by Alcohol Concern.
The study, One On Every Corner, uses Salford as its highest area for the density of off-licences which, at 135.5 per 100,000 population, is over twice the national average (62.9).
The report draws a link between the high number of off-licences and the high number of `alcohol specific under-18s hospital admissions' – which includes things like alcohol poisoning but not alcohol related injuries.
Alcohol Concern compares Tunbridge Wells - which has an offy density rate of 48.3 and an under-18 alcohol hospital admission rate of 48.4 per 100,000 population - with Salford which has a 135.5 offy rate and a 117 hospital admission rate.
The report even draws a possible link between Salford's high teenage conception rate and alcohol availability. Salford's rate of conceptions amongst 15-17 year olds was 59 per 1000 population in 2008, compared to a national average of 40.
The report explains that English people are increasingly choosing to drink at home rather than in pubs because it's cheaper. Alcohol bought in offies, it states, is one third cheaper than in pubs and bars, and the number of licensed places that sell alcohol, from bargain booze shops to supermarkets, has increased by 25% over the last thirty years.
"For young people under-18, greater off-licence density does not necessarily translate into increased opportunity for the direct purchase of alcohol" the report states "Rather, greater off-licence density increases the general availability of alcohol in the home and through friends, family and from passers-by – through what is known as 'shoulder-tapping' outside alcohol retail outlets."
The report concludes that while local councils can turn down applications for licences they can be overturned on appeal, and calls for the Government to introduce new public health objectives in the Licensing Act to give councils more power to stop the offy growth.
"It is a sobering thought that the numbers of off-licences in any one area has an impact on under-18s drinking and ending up in hospital" says Alcohol Concern Chief Executive, Don Shenker "It is a failing of the current system that so many licences are being granted without due consideration to young people's health."
One On Every Corner took its statistics from 214 of 293 local authorities in England.
Read the full report: click here