Binge drinking by teenagers could be tackled by lowering the legal age for consuming alcohol to 16 and offering young drinkers safe places to meet, a South Lanarkshire report has concluded.
The report, published today (Friday), states: "One of the key concerns about under-age drinking is the uncontrolled consumption of large quantities of alcohol in a relatively short space of time. Young people themselves have indicated that they would prefer to consume alcohol in more pleasant surroundings, like cafe bars, where their consumption would be more easily monitored by the licence holder and drinking would form part of a wider social activity."
The council's Commission on Health and Young People was set up in June to look into high rates of early mortality and chronic illness. Councillors took evidence on diet, addictions, poverty, physical activity, and sexual and mental health.
Studies found that 40 per cent of secondary pupils entitled to free lunches do not take them because of the stigma involved. The report recommends wider use of smart cards which avoid any embarrassment over inability to pay.
Youth unemployment is rising, although the overall jobless figure is falling.