BBPA backs tax break for low-alcohol beer

01 December, 2010

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has backed the UK Government’s planned reduction of duty on low-alcohol beer.

Beer below 2.8% will now be eligible for the duty drop, in a policy change the government says will “help encourage the production and consumption of lower strength beers and give responsible drinkers additional choice”.

Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the BBPA echoed government sentiments over the potential increase in appeal of weaker beers, adding that the duty reduction is a “welcome incentive for further investment in these [low alcohol] beers”.

In contrast to other industry associations, such as the Scotch Whisky Association – which has called for transparency in alcohol duty - the BBPA favours a system that “nudges consumers to choose low-strength, pub-based drinks such as beer.”

Simmonds said: “It would create a win-win situation – a more balanced system of alcohol taxation that would bring in more revenue, and create up to 30,000 jobs in the UK.

As part of the review, the Government also proposed an increase in duty for beers over 7.5% abv in strength, to “address the consumption of cheap ‘super-strength’ lagers”.

In response Simmonds added: “When it comes to the increase in duty on higher-strength beers, these account for less than half of one per cent of total alcohol sales, and less than one per cent of beer sales.”

“Duty rates remain untouched for higher strength drinks such as spirits and wine.”

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