Beer, cider and spirit tax freeze comes into force

By Stuart Stone

- Last updated on GMT

Tax freeze: as of today, tax on beer, cider and spirits has been frozen for another 12 months
Tax freeze: as of today, tax on beer, cider and spirits has been frozen for another 12 months
Tax freezes on alcohol announced in the 2018 Budget are to be implemented for further year from today (1 February).

As reported by The Morning Advertiser​, duty on beer, cider and spirits was frozen​ by Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond in his 2018 Autumn Budget on 29 October.

However, Hammond announced that wine duty would rise in line with inflation, meaning the price of a bottle of sparkling wine will increase by 9p and still variants by 7p, with ‘white ciders’ would also to be taxed at a higher rate.

Praise for pubs

According to the Treasury, a standard pint of beer is now 14p cheaper than if taxes had risen in line with inflation.

During a recent visit to an independent brewery in Liverpool, Hammond praised the efforts of the British beer and pub industries.

“In recognition of the important contribution of British pubs and drinks makers to our communities, I have frozen taxes on beer, cider and spirits again this year,” he said.

“These duties would have otherwise come into effect today but instead we’re supporting an industry that employs 900,000 people across the UK.

“Whether it’s local pubs, craft cider mills or independent distillers, this Government is helping these businesses to thrive and ensuring they remain at the heart of our economy.”

Welcome relief

British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Brigid Simmonds welcomed the Chancellor’s Budget pledge coming into force.

“Brewers and pubgoers across the UK will be toasting the Chancellor today as beer duty is frozen for another year,” she said. “This will save brewers, pubs and pubgoers £110m and secure upwards of 3,000 jobs that would have been lost had beer duty gone up today.

“Clearly, the Chancellor listened to the 116,000 people who signed the petition to cut beer tax in his last Budget. Pubs are so important to their local communities and 82% of the beer we drink here is brewed in the UK, so it is great to see the Chancellor supporting a great British industry.

“Freezing beer duty is a big helping hand for pubs across the UK that are struggling. I hope we can build on this in the future and we will continue to celebrate the vital role that local pubs play in communities and highlight the ongoing pressures they face by supporting the Long Live the Local​ campaign.

“The Chancellor’s decision to review Small Breweries’ Relief is also most welcome and now under way.”

Small brewers boosted

In addition to the duty freeze, the Treasury pledged that it will examine the Small Breweries’ Relief to ensure the scheme continues to support budding beer makers.

In line with this, the Treasury launched a survey asking small brewers for their views on the scheme on 31 January.

Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) chief executive Mike Benner added: “The freeze in beer duty is good news for UK brewers, publicans and beer drinkers.

“A planned rise in line with inflation would have meant a £100m hit to Britain’s brewers.

“We will be toasting the Chancellor this week with a well-deserved pint.”

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