Boris Johnson Pledges Review of Alcohol Taxes

The Prime Minister said his party’s manifesto would  include a commitment to re-evaluate alcohol duty with a view to increasing domestic sales and exports. The move follows Donald Trump’s decision to impose a 25% tariff on single malt Scotch whisky exported to the United States.

Taxation in the UK currently accounts for almost £3 in every £4 of the price of a bottle of whisky with tax on a bottle of spirits is 28.7p per unit, compared to a rate of 24.8p on wine, 19.1p on beer and 6.7p on cider.

UKHospitality has welcomed the Conservative Party’s commitment to a review of alcohol taxation.

Commenting on the announcement, UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “This is a positive first step. The duty system has been a barrier to growth for some time and a review is long-overdue. This is a measure we have been pushing for at UKHospitality. If the Conservatives are successful at the General Election, we hope they push forward with this as a matter of urgency.

“A key improvement in the system would be a separate rate for draught beer, wine and spirits sold in pubs, bars and restaurants. A lower rate for on-trade drinks would help lower costs for hospitality businesses and, hopefully, help attract more customers into the on-trade.

“This could help stimulate growth in high street businesses while making drinking in pubs and bars a more attractive financial prospect than pre-loading, which could help promote healthier attitudes to alcohol.”

British Beer & Pub Association Chief Executive Emma McClarkin said: “It is great news that Boris Johnson has committed to reviewing UK alcohol taxation.

“Beer tax is a particular burden for pubs where 7 out of 10 alcoholic drinks sold are beer, a lower strength British made product. In fact, we pay 11 times more beer duty than in Spain and Germany.

“Three pubs a day close their doors for good. A freeze or cut in beer tax at the next budget would help halt this.

“This commitment from Boris Johnson to review alcohol taxation gives him the opportunity to listen to the 216,000 supporters of the Long Live the Local campaign and cut beer tax to support local pubs and the communities they serve.”