Beer Duty and Pubs: Update October 2019

Thank you for contacting me about alcohol duties.

Tax on beer, cider, and spirits was frozen again at the Autumn Budget 2018. This year, the price of a typical pint of beer is 2p lower than if prices had risen with inflation; the price of a pint of cider is 1p lower; and the price of a bottle of Scotch whisky is 30p lower. This follows the removal of the beer duty escalator in 2013 and the unprecedented cuts and freezes in beer duty since then, as well as the removal of the duty escalator for spirits, wine and cider in 2014.

I am pleased that duties have consistently been frozen. Such a policy supports our spirits distilleries, cider producers, brewing industry and, of course, our local pubs. Equally, I also support the fact that the Government is continuing to investigate ways to improve the system of alcohol taxation so that it better supports efforts to tackle binge drinking without unfairly penalising responsible drinkers, pubs and important local industries.

The removal of the wine duty escalator meant that in 2014 wine duty rose only by RPI inflation, 2 per cent lower than the previous planned rise. Wine duty was then frozen in 2015, to support the UK’s growing wine industry. The tax on a typical bottle of wine is expected to be 16p lower than it otherwise would have been, since ending the wine escalator in 2014.

Regarding further freezes in alcohol duties, decisions on this will be taken in due course at the forthcoming Autumn Budget 2019 and I have ensured colleagues are aware of the points you raise.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Craig Whittaker MP

Updated October 2019