The Government has claimed that it does not use alcohol duty as a tool for tackling problems associated with alcohol consumption.
Number 10 has finally responded to a petition lodged by the Morning Advertiser, calling for the Government to resist further duty hikes, back in January last year.
The petition, part of our Fight the Hikes campaign, called for the Chancellor to take note of the industry's difficulties and resist calls for a 10% hike from the Alcohol Health Alliance.
Over the past year, duty has increased twice — a 9% rise in March, followed by an 8% increase from 1 December.
The second hike was to off-set the 13-month 2.5% cut in VAT. However, the duty increase is permanent.
An alcohol duty escalator was also introduced — effectively a promise of a 2% above inflation rise in duty for the next four years.
However, somewhat amazingly, the Government response to our petition is: "The Government does not see alcohol duty as a prime tool for tackling the problems associated with alcohol consumption.
"Accordingly, in the 2008 Pre-Budget Report, changes to alcohol duty were limited to those necessary to ensure that the tax burden on the relevant products remained broadly unchanged.
"However, as with all taxes, alcohol duty rates will be kept under review."