A planned 3p rise in beer duty has been scrapped in favour of a 1p cut in the price of a pint in this year’s budget.
The chancellor also announced that the alcohol duty escalator, which adds inflation plus 2% to the price, is to be abolished for beer completely. However, the escalator will remain for wines and spirits.
The escalator will add another 10p to a bottle of wine and 53p to a litre bottle of spirits.
A spokesperson for Diageo said, “This move is disappointing. Cutting duty on beer while increasing it on spirits punishes the UK spirits industry for its success in this harsh economic climate. Scotch is the UK’s biggest food and drink export. This move risks that success.”
Robert Kerr, Accountant of the Year and chairman of French Duncan Chartered Accountants, added, “Perhaps in a buoyant economy the escalator makes economic sense, but in the present economic climate with widespread redundancies and public sector pay freezes, many people simply have less money in their pockets to afford buying a round of drinks in the pub, particularly when they can still buy multipack cans of beer at a fraction of the price in any supermarket.”
The reduction in the price of beer will start from Sunday 24th March.