Drinks brands have issued a final call urging Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne MP to scrap the beer and alcohol duty escalators ahead of his Budget announcement tomorrow.
Molson Coors managing director Simon Cox said it has been “encouraging” to see the continued strong support among MPs in promoting a freeze in beer tax prior to the Budget and he hopes to hear it announced tomorrow.
“The scrapping of the duty escalator last year was a very welcome and vital respite, but did not address the fact that Britons still pay an excessive amount in tax on beer compared with Europe,” he said.
“A duty freeze, which excludes an inflationary rise, would give a much needed boost to the pub and brewing industry, securing jobs and saving money for beer drinkers up and down the UK.”
Merseyside drinks producer Halewood International, behind brands including Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer and Lambrini, is also putting pressure on Osborne to scrap the alcohol duty escalator (ADE), as part of an industry-wide campaign led by the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA), the TaxPayers’ Alliance and the Scotch Whisky Association.
The ADE was introduced in 2008 and has increased the tax on alcohol by 2% above inflation every year and, under current plans, is due to do so again in the 2014 Budget.
A recent Ernst & Young report shows the abolition of the escalator could create 6,000 jobs nationally and boost the public purse by £230m every year.
Halewood International’s director of corporate affairs Bob Rishworth said: “If this inflation busting super tax is allowed to continue unchecked it will have a detrimental effect on our company and the industry as a whole.
“If the Government is serious about creating jobs, supporting growth and cutting tax, it should make a start now by scrapping the alcohol duty escalator as part of its Budget package.”
Halewood said the Government now takes 79% of the average-priced bottle of spirits in tax and 57% of an average-priced bottle of wine. The UK’s total duty take from alcohol accounts for almost 40% of all alcohol duty levied in the whole of the European Union – greater than Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Poland – it added.
The Publican’s Morning Advertiser will be live blogging and tweeting announcements from the Budget that are relevant to the pub trade tomorrow from 12pm. Visit the PMA website and follow us @morningad for the updates.