NEWS: 1996 BUDGET; Alcopop producers angered at Clarke’s 40% increase in tax

Alcopops were hit by harsh measures in this year’s Budget, with a 40 per cent tax increase that will force prices up by 7p or 8p a bottle.

Alcopops were hit by harsh measures in this year’s Budget, with a 40 per

cent tax increase that will force prices up by 7p or 8p a bottle.



The sector has been penalised for its controversial appeal to under-age

drinkers, and major brewers are outraged that alcopops are being used by

the Chancellor to raise money and win favour with the public at the same

time.



A Bass Brewers spokesperson commented: ‘The Chancellor purports to be

discouraging under-age drinkers but this is a bogus excuse. Research

shows that alcopops are a poor fifth choice for young people who prefer

cider, wines and spirits - the very drinks that have had their duty cut

or frozen.’



Spirits distillers won out for the second year in a row.



Kenneth Clarke, who delivered his Budget speech with a glass of whisky

in his hand, announced a decision to drop tax on spirits by 4 per cent,

or roughly 26p per bottle.



United Distillers UK applauded the move, which comes at a time when

spirits are moving wholesale into TV advertising. Andy Neal, its

consumer marketing director, said: ‘The Government is sending a powerful

signal to world markets where discrimination against UK spirits

remains unabated.’



Beer duties have been frozen, disappointing brewers who have lobbied

hard for a reduction in taxes to combat cross-Channel trade.



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