New alcohol tax for off-trade proposed

By Ellie Bothwell contact

- Last updated on GMT

The tax could raise £155m next year
The tax could raise £155m next year
Drink addicts should be treated in “abstinence-based rehabilitation centres” paid for with a new tax on alcohol, a think tank has urged.

In its new Ambitious For Recovery​ report, the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) has recommended introducing a “small, ring-fenced treatment tax on every unit of alcohol from 2015” that can be used to pay for abstinence-based rehabilitation centres.

The body claims of the 260,000 alcoholics in the UK, only a “tiny minority” are receiving the high-quality treatment they need.

It has suggested the following levels of tax would be required:

  • Half a pence on a unit between 2015 and 2017
  • One pence on a unit between 2018 and 2020
  • One and a half pence on a unit between 2021 and 2023
  • Two pence on a unit from 2024 onwards


The tax would apply to off-trade sales only, excluding sales in pubs or restaurants, and would, at two pence on a unit, add around four pence to a pint, 18 pence to a bottle of wine, and 56 pence to a standard bottle of spirits.

It has estimated this would raise £155m a year between 2015 and 2017, £290m a year between 2018 and 2020, £410m between 2021 and 2023, and £520m a year from 2024 onwards.

There are currently approximately 125 residential rehabilitation centres in England, but CSJ said “many of them” are of “insufficient quality”.

It said the new levy could fund the creation and running of 350 new centres, with an average of 40 beds over a nine-year period.

Related topics: Legislation

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Treat On and Off Trade Equally

Posted by Mary Poppins,

Why don't HMG just increase the VAT on alcohol in supermarkets from 5% to 20% - if pubs have to pay 20% VAT on their purchases and sales of alcohol, so should supermarkets. Also, supermarkets should be held responsible when teenagers well under 18 are clearly choosing what alcohol they wish to consume for the weekend (in full view of everyone) and parents are putting it through with the shopping.

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Wouldn't make a difference

Posted by Interested Observer,

VAT @ 50% would increase the price of the cans that are currently £10 to £12.50.

That's roughly 75% of the best JDW price, but not enough to drive people back to the £3+ outlets.

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Off Sales Tax

Posted by Mike,

Why not increase VAT on off sales alcohol to 25% or even higher, bringing off sale prices closer to on trade

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