The UK’s organisations representing drinks producers, pubs and retailers have criticised the government’s decision to reverse the alcohol duty freeze, which was announced at the mini-budget.
The Scotch Whisky Association, the Wine and Spirits Trade Association, and the Beer Pub Association said in a joint statement that the stability the duty freeze provided to the industry “has now been shaken, and confidence lost, due to the u-turn”.
“The reversal of the duty freeze will mean a double-digit tax rise for beer, wine and spirits – industries which together contribute £13bn to the Exchequer through duty alone,” the statement read.
“For hard-pressed consumers, this will mean a significant increase in the price of their favourite drinks at a time when our pubs, restaurants and shops are all struggling to manage increasing costs and keeping their doors from shutting for good this winter. It is vital that a drink with family and friends, in pubs and hospitality venues serving their communities in every part of the UK, does not become an unaffordable luxury.”
The Scotch Whisky Association had previously pointed out that the average priced bottle of Scotch whisky is already taxed at 70%, voicing concerns that the tax would add to pressures in the UK hospitality industry and household budgets.
“We call on you to support, not penalise our industries – protect the jobs we create, back the investment we attract, and cancel the double-digit tax hike,” the joint statement concluded.