Alcohol duty to be frozen saving drinkers 7p on a pint of beer and 38p on bottle of wine

Alcohol duty will be frozen from February 2023, the Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced as he delivered his mini-budget today.

The Treasury said the policy amounts to a tax cut worth £600 million, which will save the consumer 7p on a pint of beer, 4p on a pint of cider, 38p on a bottle of wine and £1.35 on a bottle of spirits.

Speaking in the House of Commons this morning, Mr Kwarteng said the Government was “not going to let” alcohol duties rise in line with the Retail Price Index (RPI) measure of inflation “at this difficult time”.

“So I can announce that the planned increases in the duty rates for beer, for cider, for wine, and for spirits will all be cancelled,” he added.

Alcohol duties typically rise in line with RPI, which currently sits at 12.3 per cent, the highest figure since the eighties.

The decision to freeze alcohol duties comes at a time when pubs across the country are having to charge increased amounts due to soaring energy bills and other costs.

Many pubs have already been forced to shut down in response to increased costs, with some saying they would have to charge £15 per pint in order to break even.

Mr Kwarteng also said in his budget today they he has “listened to industry concerns about the ongoing reforms” to alcohol duties.

Last year former Chancellor Rishi Sunak published a consultation setting out reforms to alcohol duties in an attempt to simply the system, which many view as overly complex.

Mr Kwarteng announced today that he will “introduce an 18-month transitional measure for wine duty” and “extend draught relief to cover smaller kegs of 20 litres and above, to help smaller breweries”.

The Chancellor also said that VAT-free shopping would be introduced for overseas visitors.

This means that holidaymakers in the UK will now be able to claim back the VAT they pay when buying goods on the British high street.

The move reverses a change introduced by former Chancellor Rishi Sunak that ended duty-free shopping in the UK.

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