Vested interests and booze research

All-day drinking brings 670,000 surge in 'sickies'... and women are FIVE times more likely to bunk off work

670,000 working days a year are being lost because of the relaxation of the drinking laws, researchers claim.
And late-night opening seems to be taking a far greater toll on women who are five times more likely to call in sick than men.

They found that since the liberalisation of pub opening hours in November 2005 absence rates in both sexes have increased by three per cent.

I'm not sure what these 'researches do, but very little of it resembles research. Conclusions seem to be forgone before the exercise begins. All they do is find data to back up the initial theory.

A search around the Googlesphere gives a lot of data on sickness absence trends and most of it shows sickness in decline. The trouble is, most of the data published online is from the public sector rather than the private. Organisations like the police and NHS are constantly fighting a PR battle against the perception that their staff are always taking sikkies, so I wouldn't really trust that data too far.

This data from the EEF/Westfield sickness survey shows a steady drop in sickness absence from 2007 to 2010, conflicting with the research shown in the Daily Mail article.

Also, the size of the test group is significant as sickness varies across different regions of the country, as demonstrated by this data on sickness in the police force.

All this has proved is that there is data available to back up any hypothesis.
If it was suddenly in the interests of Government policy or some fake charity to say that sickness absence was dropping rapidly, research would be able to prove this with little effort.

One thing I did notice while looking through the dry statistics is that older people and people in more responsible positions take a lot less sick time than younger people and those in lower rung jobs.

You can see that where I work. It's rare anyone has time off sick in our office, yet the packing and warehouse areas suffer daily sickness absence.

Well that was boring. Let's have a look at a picture of a drunk teenager to make the article a bit more scary. Ahh, here's one:

You've dropped your kebab!

Well done Daily Mail. That will have the righteous screaming for tougher laws.

Labour relaxed the licensing laws to try to encourage a more relaxed, continental-style cafe culture of drinking. The idea was to deter revellers quickly downing their drinks in the run-up to closing at 11pm and becoming intoxicated and troublesome.
But there is some evidence the laws have simply encouraged the public to drink even more excessively round the clock.

There is no evidence of this at all, at least not stated here. It is a myth that pubs are now open 24/7 and people are binge drinking around the clock.

Although a number of 24 hour licences were applied for and granted when the law changed, they are almost never used. It would not be financially viable to keep a pub open 24/7. Landlords applied for these licences so they don't need to go through the hassle of approaching the council if they need to open for an extra couple of hours one night.

The Daily Mail love to perpetuate the round the clock binge drinking myth because they strongly opposed the relaxing of the licencing laws in the first place.

The study also looked at the Balearic Islands in Spain, which in 1999 toughened up drinking laws, requiring bars to close at 3am rather than 6am.
Researchers found that since then absence rates had fallen by 5.6 per cent and the average person worked an extra 15 hours a year which is nearly two days.

So they compared an area where opening hours have been dropped but are still later on average than British bars.

Dr Colin Green, a senior lecturer in economics at Lancaster University, said: ‘Government intervention on leisure activities, especially those involving alcohol consumption, have the potential to spill over and affect working behaviour.’

Absenteeism for any reason is a problem that needs to be dealt with by the employer. The trouble is we now live in an entitlement culture, and our entitlements are shored up by various laws from the EU.

Employers should have free reign to sack employees who ring in sick because they have a hangover, but getting rid of a useless employee is easier said than done these days.

There has always been a culture among some young people of going out clubbing in the week when they have work the day after. Generally they can handle a good booze up followed by an early get up because they are young.

These days they are well aware that they are unlikely to be sacked for having time off so they are less likely to trudge into work with a hangover when they can stay in bed instead.

Repeal some of the employment laws that tie employers hands and sickness levels due to booze will drop.


We could always complain that late licencing is the problem and everybody needs protecting from it. Attempt to correct the problem with more restrictive laws that target everyone.

A spokesman from Alcohol Concern said: ‘This study provides evidence that the introduction of extended hours drinking in 2005 has had a detrimental health effect.’
That's quite a mild statement for Alcohol Concern. Could it have been made by a junior because Don Shenker was off with a hangover?
There are always people who will overdo it. There are also many people who benefit from being able to go to the pub at varied times.

So there we have it. The vested interests of three groups collaborating to write a scare story for the sheep.

Lancaster University who were probably paid a nice grant to come up with these results.
The Daily Mail who took on board the crusade against relaxing the licensing laws because they sell papers to the shouty righteous.
Alcohol Concern whose entire funding depends on proving that alcohol is bad. M'kay.


Chalcedon said...

Bucko said...