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Budget 2008: Darling unleashes alcohol tax hikes

12 March, 2008

Prices for spirit drinks will rise by 55p per bottle, chancellor Alistair Darling has announced, in a series of hefty tax rises on alcohol.

Prices for spirit drinks will rise by 55p per bottle, chancellor Alistair Darling has announced, in a series of tax rises on alcohol.

Alongside spirits, wine prices will increase by 14p per bottle, sparkling wine by 18p, beer by 4p per pint and cider by 3p per litre.

Darling's announcement makes this year's budget one of the most severe for the drinks industry in recent years.

Alcohol duty is also set to rise two per cent above inflation annually for the next four years.

Both the Wine & Spirit Trade Association and the Gin & Vodka Association condemned the chancellor for attacking consumers. Concerns about binge drinking in the UK dominated discussions on alcohol prices in the build up to the budget. But the trade associations accused the government on Wednesday of "hitting all drinkers for the sins of a minority".

Justifying the increase on wine, chancellor Darling said: "In 1997, the average bottle of wine bought in a supermarket was 4.45 in today's prices. If you go into a supermarket today, the average bottle of wine will cost about 4."

He said extra cash raised would go towards social causes, such as the government's ambition to end child poverty by 2020.

Click below for more industry reaction to the Budget 2008:

Retailers must pass on duty hike - suppliers.




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