Drinks firms welcome duty cuts

DRINKS firms have welcomed the chancellor’s decision to cut duty on beer, cider and spirits.
Delivering his Budget on March 18, George Osborne said beer duty will be cut by a penny for a third consecutive year; duty on cider and spirits, including whisky, will be cut by 2%; and wine duty will be frozen.
The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) hailed the “historic” decision to cut spirits duty – the first, it says, in almost 20 years – describing it as “both fair to consumers and a significant boost to a home-grown industry”.
“The chancellor’s announcement will be toasted across the whisky industry and by consumers who are getting a fairer deal on tax when they have a drink of Scotch,” said SWA chief executive David Frost.
Diageo MD Andrew Cowan said: “This cut will mean that a 400-year historic industry like Scotch whisky will remain a crucial, and vibrant, part of the British economy for many more years to come.”
Brewers welcomed what many described as a “historic hat-trick” of duty cuts for the sector.
John Gilligan of Tennent Caledonian Breweries said it is “good news for both the industry and the consumer”.
Heineken boss David Forde said: “This momentous result recognises that brewing, cider making and the great British pub are crucial to the UK’s economy and will ensure that a hard earned pint remains affordable.”
Martin Thatcher, chair of the National Association of Cider Makers (NACM), said: “This important decision will be celebrated by cider makers up and down the country as it protects the investment they have made over many years to grow the industry and support thousands of jobs.’
Brigid Simmonds, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, said the chancellor’s third, successive beer tax cut “shows he has listened to consumers, publicans and brewers”.
 “It will boost employment by 3,800 this year alone and attract new capital investment,” she said.
“It will put £180 million in the pockets of beer drinkers and pub-goers. That is a huge difference.”