SBPA issues excise warning

PUBS in Scotland could be forced to put the price of a pint up by as much as 50p – if the Scottish Government is successful in wresting control of excise duty from Westminster.

The proposal is included in a raft of changes the SNP wants to make to the Scotland Bill, currently being deliberated by a dedicated cross-party committee at Holyrood.
First Minister Alex Salmond said earlier this year that if Scotland controlled duty it would ensure revenues raised by minimum pricing would be invested in public services.
Responding to the committee’s call for evidence, the SBPA warned that ministers would need to raise beer duty by 102% – or 50.6p – to ‘tax away’ monies generated by minimum pricing if it was set at 45p a unit.
Despite his concerns, boss Patrick Browne said it would be “very unlikely” for Westminster to cede to the SNP’s demand.
“What we did with our submission was to put a marker down on the issue so that they’re aware this is the logic of what they’re talking about, so at some point in the future if they do succeed on this, they know they’re going to have to deal with the cumulative effect of minimum pricing plus excise duty control,” he told SLTN.
“If the effect of the two things is you get an increase of 50p on the price of a pint in the pub, I don’t think it’s what people were expecting.”