BEER duty is to be cut by 1p and the controversial escalator scrapped – but the 2% above inflation rise in duty will remain in place for wine, cider and spirits.
Delivering his Budget, chancellor George Osborne confirmed the 3p rise in beer duty planned for April has been scrapped and beer duty will be cut by 1p; the annual 2% above inflation duty escalator will also be scrapped for beer.
However, the controversial duty escalator will continue to apply to wine, cider and spirits.
The British Beer & Pub Association welcomed the duty cut for beer, with chief executive Brigid Simmonds describing it as “absolutely brilliant news”.
“It will make George Osborne the toast of Britain’s pubs today,” she said.
But the Wine & Spirit Trade Association slammed what it described as “inflation busting tax hikes” on wine and spirits.
The Forum of Private Business, meanwhile, welcomed the announcement that September’s 3p fuel duty rise is to be scrapped, describing it as a “helpful concession for business and the economy”.
• See SLTN April 4 for full Budget reaction.