In what amounts to a single-issue mini-budget the Treasury posted a welcome announcement for the manufacturers and consumers of alcoholic products last week. They said:
The Chancellor announces that alcohol duties are frozen
From today, (1 February 2019) taxes on beer, cider and spirits are frozen for another year, keeping costs down for industry and consumers alike.
alcohol duty cuts and freezes over the last six years have provided £4.4 billion of support to pubs and drinks industry,
a typical pint of beer is 14 pence cheaper than if taxes had risen in line with inflation.
Beer lovers, brewers, and landlords alike can raise a toast today as Dry January comes to an end and alcohol duties are frozen for another year.
The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, during a visit to an independent brewery in Liverpool, praised the contributions made by the British beer and drinks industry to the economy and communities, including local pubs.
Previously announced in the 2018 Budget, the freeze will keep costs down for beer, cider and spirits, and builds on the numerous cuts and freezes to duty by the government since 2013. The move has saved the public an average of 14 pence on every pint of beer, 4 pence on a pint of cider and £1.50 on a bottle of Scotch whisky.
As well as the duty freeze, the Treasury also announced at Budget that it will be looking at the Small Brewers Relief to make sure the scheme continues to support the country’s smallest beer makers, helping them to grow and expand into new markets. A survey asking small brewers for their views on the relief was launched this week.
In addition to pubs, the duty freeze on cider will support the economies of British rural communities and help fuel investment and innovation in whisky and gin producers.
Cynics may infer that any increase in alcohol production is designed to help us cope with other government interventions in the coming months? They are probably right.