Brown's Budget in brief

22 March 2006 by
Brown's Budget in brief

Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown delivered a cautious 10th budget today.

Despite industry representations earlier this month, Sunday will see 4p of extra duty added to a bottle of wine and 1p to a pint of beer.

Whisky and other spirits escaped unharmed, and Brown froze duty on Champagne in "expectation of a successful World Cup" this summer.

Consumer group the Campaign for Real Ale welcomed the freeze on cider but said the step up in beer duty was "a blow to pubs and consumers".

Duty on a packet of cigarettes increases 9p from Sunday.

A £20m seed fund supporting energy efficiency could provide extra money for hospitality companies to invest in energy-efficient equipment, according to Chris Lane, partner at accountancy firm Kingston Smith.

And Peter Davis, manager at business advisory firm Vantis, urged operators to make use of the new 50% tax relief available on plant and machinery equipment purchases in the first year from April (this includes dishwashers and cookers).

Brown introduced a 0% vehicle excise duty rate for super-efficient cars and a bruising £210 upper limit for gas-guzzlers, while suspending an increase in fuel duty until September.

Potentially broadening the skills base for hospitality employers, a training initiative specifically for low-skilled women was announced. The Government is to make Further Education free for those aged up to 25.

The adult minimum wage was confirmed at £5.35 from October.

By Chris Druce

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