For the first time I can remember (which, given the state of my memory, is probably not actually that long) alcohol did not take a hammering in the chancellor's budget yesterday, which comes as a bit of a relief. On the other hand, with the increase in VAT the price of a pint is due to rise by an average of 7p, which can normally be expected to spark grumbles at the bar as additional coppers are fished out of already empty pockets. This means that total taxation on a pint of beer will top £1 in Jan 2011. Any wonder so many local pubs are closing their doors for the last time?
There's a little good news for cider drinkers, with Osborne promising that the 10% above inflation increase on cider announced by the last government is to be reduced by the end of the month. Heineken have already announced that this reduction will be passed on immediately to the consumer.
Perhaps however, on balance, it might be time for the powers that be to recognise that simply taxing alcohol to such a degree is only really hurting responsible drinkers and not tackling the problem of binge drinking that they had hoped it might....
For more industry comment: http://tiny.cc/pv8un