1. ITV Report

Is Britain the most expensive place on earth to drink?

Even before the Government sets a minimum price on alcohol, it seems that Britain is already one of the most expensive places on earth to drink.

Although there are no official figures comparing world prices for alcohol on the shelf, data on European prices shows a British pint is among the most costly.

Anecdotal evidence also suggests that Britain has higher prices than much of the world, although considerably lower than Scandinavian countries and Singapore.

Oktoberfest is Germany's national celebration of beer. Credit: REUTERS/Michael Dalder

If the world average is given a value of 100, this is how other countries compare:

  • Guinea - 23
  • Russia - 46
  • Thailand - 76
  • China - 84
  • USA - 120
  • Germany - 119
  • France - 135
  • Australia - 180
  • UK - 213
  • Singapore - 313

The West African nation of Guinea has the cheapest alcohol on earth - just a fifth of the average - while Norway and Singapore have prices three times the average.

The UK is comparable with other western European countries like France and Germany where a beer in a cafe, restaurant or bar is around the 3-4 euro mark.

Racks filled with hard liquor - mainly vodka - at a shop in Krasnaya Polyana in Russia Credit: REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

But move to Eastern European countries like Bulgaria and Romania and the price drops to around 1 euro. In Russia, a bottle of locally-made vodka can cost as little as 4 euros.

Tax can have a large impact on the price with excise tax on a litre of pure alcohol ranging from 45% in Norway to as little as 3% in Kyrgyzstan, according to figures from the World Health Organisation.

Revellers at a bar in Newcastle. The British Government wants to tackle a 'binge-drinking culture' in the UK Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA

Many provinces in Canada have also had a minimum price for alcohol in place for the last 20 years with varying degrees of success.

Finland, which has a heavy drinking culture, has strict rules banning special offers. Any alcohol stronger than 4.7% must be sold through the monopoly chain Alko.

Britain is on of the most expensive places in Europe to drink a pint Credit: Dominic Lipinski /PA Wire

A survey carried out by Eurobarometer found that Briton was comparable with some Scandinavian countries in terms of the proportion of people who binge-drink.

But it also found that Britons drink almost as regularly as some Mediterranean countries, with just over a fifth saying they imbibe more than four times a week.

The survey also found that the stereotype of southern Europeans drinking with meals more than northern Europeans has "some validity".

While 80% of Italian respondents said they drink alcohol mainly or solely with food, the figure for the UK was just over 30%.

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