8 March 2017: Responding to the Chancellor’s budget today, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said:
“Whilst we would have liked to see the Chancellor increase duty on the cheapest alcohol today, we are encouraged to see that the government will be consulting on introducing a new duty band for high-strength ciders, which would mean these ciders are taxed at a higher rate.
“At the moment, it is possible to buy a three-litre bottle of 7.5% ABV cider, containing the equivalent amount of alcohol as 22 shots of vodka, for just £3.50. As a result of these low prices, these drinks are a favourite among children and vulnerable groups like the homeless.
“High-strength cider currently receives the lowest duty per unit of any alcohol product, and the government clearly recognises the need to address the anomalies in the tax system which mean that these ciders can be taxed at such low rates. Dealing with these anomalies in the tax system would target those most in need, and would move the tax system towards a more sensible scheme where the stronger alcohol is, the more highly it is taxed.
“By taxing these drinks more strongly, the government will also encourage producers to lower the alcohol content in the drinks.”