Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Budget 2008: Wine and Spirits focus

Published:  23 July, 2008

Alcohol has come under close scrutiny in Chancellor Alistair Darling's first Budget with duty up across the board for wine and spirits.

Stephen Robertson, BRC dirtector, said: "We'll need to look beyond the headlines to the inevitable unannounced detail before we can fully assess this Budget, but it's clear the Chancellor has huge holes in his accounts and is trying to hide an old-fashioned tax grab behind a bags and alcohol smokescreen.

"We share the government's concerns on responsible drinking but are not convinced that raising the price of alcohol through taxation is the correct solution. The key issue is changing our culture and encouraging awareness of sensible drinking, a process retailers are committed to working with government on as part of its alcohol strategy. The problem with taxation on alcohol is that it's a blunt instrument that raises the price to millions of consumers who drink responsibly."

Scotch Whisky Association

Gavin Hewitt, the SWA chief executive, said: "Scottish distillers are astonished by the Chancellor's announcement. The government's own figures show that any duty increase on whisky is likely to reduce revenue at a time when public finances are tight.

"A tax rise is a blow to international competitiveness when the industry has been investing significantly to meet growing global demand for Scotch Whisky. It sets a damaging precedent that export markets may follow.

"Today's introduction of a two percent above inflation 'alcohol tax accelerator' in future Budgets abandons moves to a fairer alcohol duty system in the UK and reverses the Treasury's long held position that it must retain flexibility when setting alcohol duty rates."

Gin and Vodka Association (GVA)

Edwin Atkinson, GVA director general, said: "The Chancellor cannot have it both ways. Either he wants more revenue or he wants to reduce consumption. For spirits, he cannot have both. And given the huge increases in production costs, this increase is even more concerning."