So the Budget is out, and it’s a 6% rise on alcohol duty in real terms. “4p on the pint”, as opposed to the traditional penny it’s been for the past few years. Penny increase, that is, for let us forget that we already have some of the highest alcohol tax rates in Europe.
The small brewers’ relief stays in place though, so if your favourite tipple comes from a microbrewery, it’s “only” a 2p per pint increase.
It would have been nice if they’d kept the small brewers’ rate where it was, though — it’s not as if the increase on this small section of the market will generate a huge amount of money for the Exchequer. Nor is it the case that the binge-drinking youth we’re all supposed to be scared of are noted for knocking back pints of locally-brewed real ale.
I’m not so much worried about this rise — as a Londoner, I already pay over the odds for my pint. It’s more the precedent, and the message it sends out. It suggests that the government has given in to tabloid hysteria and calls for quick fixes to the nation’s drinking problems.
PS – we’re away for the weekend, see you early next week!