New figures from the Office for National Statistics have revealed there were 7,327 alcohol-related deaths in the UK in 2016.

The highest number of deaths were found in middle aged and older age groups.

Commenting on the statistics, Cllr Izzi Seccombe, Chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, said: "It is tragic that 7,327 men and women in the UK died because of alcohol last year. Behind these appalling statistics are real people - fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands and wives.

“What is particularly concerning about these figures is that the rates of alcohol-related deaths were highest in middle aged and older age groups. Despite drinking comparatively little, older people consume alcohol far more often. These statistics should serve as a warning around the dangers of regular drinking over a long period of time.

“Many of us like to have a drink to relax and enjoy our free time, but councils are committed to helping people cut down on how much they drink, through supporting initiatives such as Dry January, to raise awareness and encourage small lifestyle changes which can have a big impact on improving people's health.

“Alcohol-related deaths are preventable, and councils would be able to do more if government reverses the cuts to the public health grant in the Autumn Budget.

"We have also urged the drinks industry to produce more low strength cider, wine, beer and spirits with fewer or zero units of alcohol, to tackle drink-related health problems.

"However, it is disappointing that government has not acted on our call for a public health objective to be included within the Licensing Act. This would give councils the power to limit the opening of late-night premises in areas where there are particular concerns about the cumulative impact of alcohol on public health."