As announced at the 2017 Autumn Budget, tax on beer, cider, wine and spirits have again be frozen. This follows the removal of the beer duty escalator in 2013 and the unprecedented cuts and freezes in beer duty since then, as well as the removal of the duty escalator for spirits, wine and cider in 2014.
When the beer duty escalator was removed in 2013, duty was simultaneously cut by 1p. This was followed by further 1p cuts in both 2014 and 2015, and a freeze in 2016. I am pleased that the Government was able to deliver this, in order to support the brewing industry and local pubs.
When the duty escalator was removed in 2014, spirit duty was also frozen. The spirits industry was then given a further boost when spirit duty was cut by 2 per cent in 2015, and then frozen again in 2016. This was done to support the continued success of our great British spirits producers.
When the duty escalator was removed in 2014, cider duty was also frozen. The cider industry was then given a further boost when duty for ordinary cider was cut by 2 per cent in 2015, and then frozen again in 2016. This was in recognition of the important contribution cider producers make to many local economies, especially in rural areas.
The removal of the wine duty escalator meant that in 2014 wine duty rose only by RPI inflation, 2 per cent lower than the previous planned rise. Wine duty was then frozen in 2015, to support the UK’s growing wine industry.
I recognise the important contribution that pubs make to our local communities, and I welcome the Government’s efforts to support this through the taxation system.
A £1,000 discount on business rate bills is being applied in both 2017-18 and 2018-19 for all pubs with a rateable value lower than £100,000. This applies to 90 per cent of pubs and is in recognition of the valuable role they play in our communities.
All taxes are kept under review as part of the budget process. I support the fact that the Government is continuing to look at ways to improve the system of alcohol taxation, to ensure it helps to tackle binge drinking without unfairly penalising responsible drinkers, pubs and important local industries.