UK raises taxes on alcohol

Excise duty on alcohol will rise by 6% above inflation from midnight on Sunday, Chancellor Alistair Darling has announced. The government has taken the action in an effort to curb binge drinking.

Duty on beer will rise by 4p a pint, cider by 3p a pint, wine by 14p a bottle and spirits by 55p a bottle. Duties will continue to rise by 2% above inflation for each of the next four years.

The increase comes at a time when Britain’s pub industry is suffering. Already truggling in the wake of smoking ban laws, pub trade has been steadily losing ground to supermarkets offering deeply discounted promotions on multi-packs of beer.

Rob Hayward, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) said: “The government is punishing all beer drinkers rather than punishing the minority of drunken hooligans.

“Its policy is fueling Britain’s binge drinking problem by driving people away from beer, out of the pub into the arms of the deep discounting supermarkets.”