Trade holds 'positive' talks on alcohol tax

By Lesley Foottit

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Taxation in the united states, Public house

What's in store for alcohol tax at the next Budget?
What's in store for alcohol tax at the next Budget?
Trade leaders held a "positive" meeting with the Treasury and Home Office on alcohol taxation last week.

Trade leaders held a "positive" meeting with the Government on alcohol taxation last week.

It was part of a series of workshops with the Treasury and Home Office to review taxation and pricing with a view to "to tackle problem drinking without unfairly penalising pubs, responsible drinkers or local industry".

The trade got to have its say on plans to introduce secondary legislation to increase tax on cheap, strong ciders by changing the definition of cider through the introduction of a minimum juice content to qualify for the lower cider duty rate.

Products with low juice content will be taxed at the "more appropriate" made-wine rate from September 2010 under the plans.

The trade was also hoping to persuade the Government to ditch the controversial 2% above inflation duty escalator imposed by the previous regime.

"These were positive discussions, with the Treasury very much in listening mode," said a British Beer and Pub Association spokesman.

"With the debate focusing on responsible consumption, we put the case strongly for beer and the need to re-balance the duty system towards lower strength products."

Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers chief executive Nick Bish warned Government officials it was hard to target problem drinkers through taxation.

The issue of a ban on below cost selling was not discussed as the Government considers the legal implications of whether consulting on such a policy would mean it is participating in price fixing.

The Government is set to publish a report on its findings in the Autumn.

Related topics: Legislation

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