UK: Government scraps plans to freeze alcohol duty

New British Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has reinstated planned tax hikes on beer, cider, wine and spirits following UK’s Prime Minister LizTruss's dismissal of Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng last week. He thus reversed his predecessor's decision, which was less than 4 weeks old. (, 23.9.2022) Truss was forced to intervene, after Kwarteng’s new set of economic policies, which, were aimed at kick-starting a stagnating UK economy and containing the country’s record rates of inflation, had disastrous consequences — it led to massive market volatility, tanked the currency, and increased mortgage rates.

Pub landlords, brewers and distillers heavily criticized the government for the renewed policy reversal on the matter. The new plans to increase the duty in line with inflation is expected to save the Government around GBP 600 million (USD 680m) a year. The proposed tax hike, will increase the price of beer by GBP 0.07 (USD 0.08) and will and will continue to burden the brewing and hospitality industry, which has already been severely weakened by the pandemic.

“The Chancellor’s decision to reverse the Alcohol Duty Freeze is a huge blow to brewers and pubs. The freeze would have delivered a GBP 300m (USD 340m) saving to our industry at a critical time when we desperately need any relief to help us survive and recover,” Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, today said on twitter.

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