Balance reacts to the Budget
Responding to alcohol duty announcements in the Budget today, Colin Shevills, Director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, commented:
“While today’s Budget statement had no mention of duty increases on the cheapest alcohol products, we’re encouraged to see that a new duty band for high-strength ciders, which would see them taxed at a higher rate, is to be consulted on.
“We know the cheapest alcohol products are some of the most harmful. Because strong white cider is so affordable and easily available, it is often the drink of choice for some of the most vulnerable members of society, including young people and dependent drinkers. These high-strength drinks are devastating lives and causing some of the worst alcohol-related harms.
“The years of cuts and freezes in alcohol duty means currently three litres of strong, white cider, containing the same amount of alcohol as 22 shots of vodka, can still be sold in our region for under £4.
“It’s not right that our current tax system means this industrial strength white cider can be sold so cheaply and it’s positive to hear the Government recognises the need to address the anomalies in the system.
“Clearly we need to make the case why action on the cheapest, most harmful products is so important and we hope that this consultation will lead to a fairer tax system which goes some of the way to protecting children and young people.”