22 November 2017: Responding to the announcements made on alcohol in the Budget today, Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, said:
‘Today’s budget represents a huge missed opportunity for the Government to tackle alcohol harm and protect our most vulnerable.
‘The freezes on alcohol duty the Chancellor has announced represent a real terms cut in duty, and a £1.2 billion tax giveaway to an alcohol industry which has already benefitted from successive duty cuts in previous budgets.
‘The planned increase in duty on some high-strength ciders appears like a small step in the right direction. However, in reality it will have minimal impact. A three-litre bottle of white cider at the newly proposed 6.8% ABV strength will contain more than 20 units of alcohol yet could still be sold for £3.50. This will do very little to protect dependent drinkers and children that consume these damaging products.
‘Furthermore, this measure will not come into effect until 2019 and in the meantime the price of high strength cider will fall because of today’s duty freeze.
‘This strengthens the case for minimum unit pricing of alcohol. With minimum pricing now judged to be legal by the Supreme Court and Scotland and Wales moving to implement the measure, it is important that England does not get left behind in terms of reducing alcohol-related harm.’