UK Government freezes alcohol duty in mini-budget

23 September, 2022

Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has announced that planned increases in alcohol duty have been ditched in his mini-budget.

Duty rates for wines, spirits, beers and cider will remain the same from 23 February 2023 saving consumers from an increase of 7p on a pint of beer, 38p on a bottle of wine and £1.35 on a bottle of spirits.

According to Treasury figures, the freeze will mean the drinks trade will avoid an additional £600m in taxation.

"Our drive to modernise also extends to alcohol duties," Kwarteng told the House of Commons. "I have listened to industry concerns about the ongoing reforms."

Jean-Etienne Gourgues, chief executive and chairman of Chivas Brothers welcomed the announcement: “At a time of rising business and consumer costs, a stable duty regime will help producers, on-trade operators, and households across the country to weather a difficult period.

“These changes will help to create the right environment for producers to invest long-term, in turn powering exports globally.”

However, UKHospitality chief executive has called on the government to offer the on-trade sector more immediate support: “Today’s measures will take time to take effect. The Chancellor committed to making the UK a globally competitive tax regime, yet overlooked two obvious levers to achieve that, through lower VAT and business rates reliefs.

“Our VAT rate is the highest among modern economies, so if we want a globally competitive market, we need lower VAT and an equitable alternative to business rates. Without such measures - which would help to keep prices down for customers - thousands of businesses and many more jobs will be lost.”

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