The chief executive of Kent brewer and pub operator Shepherd Neame has described the Chancellor's decision to raise alcohol duty again as "an act of gross cultural vandalism".
In Monday's Pre-Budget Report, Alastair Darling announced an 8% hike in alcohol tax, meaning duty has now risen 17% in 2008. The move means pub customers will not benefit from the 2.5 percentage point cut in VAT.
Jonathan Neame said: "This vindictive Pre-Budget Report is an act of gross cultural vandalism, born of ignorance.
"The Government continues to regard the Great British pub as a tax-collection point on one hand and a social problem on the other. They have no regard for the livelihoods of the thousands of people who work in Kent's pubs, nor the suppliers who rely on their trade."
David Clarke, chief executive of hotels consortium Best Western,
"To meet the 1 December 1 changeover, we have to carry out about three months' work in the space of a week," he said.
"We are determined to deliver these rate-reductions to our customers so we have pulled people off other work and asked call-centre staff to work extra shifts.
"There will definitely be some late nights over the next few days and plenty of people in the office this weekend."
By Daniel Thomas
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