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Tax down on pints but up on wines and spirits in Alcohol Duty overhaul

The largest overhaul of alcohol duty in 140 years sees drinks taxed by strength rather than category from 1 August.

It also sees the introduction of Small Producer Relief, which aims to help small businesses and start-ups create new drinks, innovate and grow.

There will be lower taxes on lower alcohol products – those below 3.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) in strength.

The number of main duty rates for alcohol is being reduced from 15 to six, to make it easier for businesses to grow and operate.

According to the government, the duty paid on drinks on tap in pubs will be up to 11p lower than at the supermarket.

However, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) warned that for spirits there will be at least a £1 increase on a bottle of gin or vodka and a bottle of wine will go up by £1 when VAT is included.

Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the WSTA, said:

‘Ultimately, the government’s new duty regime discriminates against premium spirits and wine more than other products.

‘Wine from hotter countries – like new trade deal partner Australia – will be penalised most of all, because the grapes grown in hotter climates naturally produce higher alcohol wines.

‘Nor can the alcohol in full strength spirits be reduced for products such as gin, vodka and whisky where a minimum strength prescribed by law.’

Internet link: HM Treasury press release WSTA website

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