Government fails to disclose beer tax motives

16 May 2008 by
Government fails to disclose beer tax motives

The Government has been attacked over its failure to disclose its motives over rising tax on beer, announced in this year's Budget.

The Association of Licensed Retailers (ALMR) said the Government had failed to support amendments to the Finance Bill that would have required the Treasury to explain its reasons for the tax rises.

Since the Budget on 12 March set out a 3% rise in duty on beer, the pub trade has renewed its criticism of the Government and is beginning a concerted campaign to have the decision reviewed.

Speaking in a Finance Bill Committee meeting, treasury minister Angela Eagle said that the Government would keep the effects of duty rises "under constant review".

But Jeremy Browne, Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the treasury, said that a constant review was "simply not the case".

"If it were, the Chancellor would not have announced above-inflation increases as an escalator for the next four years."

ALMR chief executive Nick Bish said: "The Government needs to commit to doing more to protect the great British pub. That means backing down on its crippling escalator and committing to no more opportunistic stunts, like extra minimum wage increases, to salvage political cock-ups."

Last month the ALMR also attacked the Government over its stated intention to consider raising the minimum wage to defuse the row over the scrapping of the 10p rate of income tax.

Industry blasts chancellor's alcohol tax rise >>

Raising minimum wage won't solve 10p tax row >>

By Christopher Walton

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