Responding to the announcements from the Chancellor in the Budget today, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance UK, said:
“We welcome the announcement of the government’s plans to reform the alcohol duty structures and look forward to examining them in more detail. We have long campaigned for changes to the way alcohol is taxed to ensure that the strongest, most harmful drinks always cost the most as they cause the most damage to society.
“However, the decision to once again freeze alcohol duty is totally misguided. We are already at crisis point when it comes to alcohol harm. Deaths caused by alcohol reached record highs in 2020 and making alcohol even cheaper will only deepen the health inequalities that this government had promised to address.
“For years, alcohol duty has been cut or frozen in the Budget. This has cost the Treasury £1.8 billion annually – money that is desperately needed elsewhere to aid the COVID-19 recovery. Revenue generated from alcohol tax doesn’t even begin to cover the costs to society of alcohol harm.
“We need the government to make the most of the opportunity that has been created with the new duty system to introduce much more ambitious measures to decrease the affordability of alcohol and reduce its unacceptable harm to our communities.”