Budget 2020: Chancellor freezes tax on alcohol in Budget

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Budget 2020: Chancellor freezes tax on alcohol in Budget

Drinkers will be raising a glass to Rishi Sunak after he stepped away from increasing booze taxes in the Budget today.The Chancellor said he was aband

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Drinkers will be raising a glass to Rishi Sunak after he stepped away from increasing booze taxes in the Budget today.

The Chancellor said he was abandoning a planned rise in duty on spirits and would freeze the rates on beer, cider and wine as well.

The announcement was one of a slew of announcements designed to help Britain’s under-pressure High Streets and pubs as they struggle against an expected major coronavirus slowdown in the economy.

The duty freeze is only the second time almost two decades that the Treasury has avoided using drinking as a way to boost its coffers with a rate rise.

Mr Sunak told the Commons: ‘Pubs are at the centre of community life but too many have closed over the past decade. 

The Chancellor said he was abandoning a planned rise in duty on spirits and would freeze the rates on beer, cider and wine as well.

The Chancellor said he was abandoning a planned rise in duty on spirits and would freeze the rates on beer, cider and wine as well.

The Chancellor said he was abandoning a planned rise in duty on spirits and would freeze the rates on beer, cider and wine as well.

‘For only the second time in almost 20 years that is every single one of our alcohol duties frozen.’ 

Dayalan Nayager, managing director of Diageo Great Britain, Ireland & France, said: ‘Drinkers across the country will raise a toast to the Chancellor tonight. 

‘The Government’s measures to help the hospitality and retail sectors will also be a welcome move for our customers, their employees and consumers in general.’

Mr Sunak has been lobbied by distillers to cut or freeze rates.

The UK Spirits Alliance pointed out that drinkers can pay more than £10 in alcohol duty and VAT on a £14 bottle of hard liquor, and charities are lobbying for the tax to be increased further, on health grounds. 

But a spokesman for the trade body, speaking before the Budget UK Spirits Alliance, said: ‘Lowering spirits duty has proven to deliver more jobs, more cash for the Treasury and economic growth across the country. 

‘In his new role as he approaches his first Budget, the Chancellor can show his support for this British success story by beginning to reduce the duty burden and backing our vital sector in the forthcoming duty review’.

In other steps designed to help pubs and other high street staples the Chancellor said from the coming year he would take the ‘exceptional step’ of abolishing business rates for businesses with a rateable value below £51,000.

A ‘temporary coronavirus business interruption loan scheme’ will be introduced for banks to offer loans of up to £1.2 million to support small and medium-sized businesses.  

The Chancellor said that the Government will meet the cost for businesses with fewer than 250 employees of providing statutory sick pay to those off work ‘due to coronavirus’.

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