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British alcohol deaths up 18 percent

Aug. 16, 2005 at 12:46 PM

LONDON, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- As British lawmakers consider expanding pub hours, new government figures show alcohol-related deaths jumped 18 percent in Britain over four years.

The figures, compiled by the Office for National Statistics, were obtained by the Liberal Democrats in reply to a parliamentary request, The Telegraph reported.

The figures show there were 6,544 deaths in England and Wales where alcohol was the primary cause in 2004, compared to 5,525 in 2000.

The Labor government is considering reforming liquor licensing laws, and expanding hours pubs can be open in an attempt to cut down on binge-drinking before bars and pubs close.

However, Lynne Featherstone, the Liberal Democrat spokesman, said Labor "must address must address the underlying reasons why people are drinking themselves literally to death. I am worried that the change to licensing laws will add to this startling increase in drink-related deaths."

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