Budget 2013: Pubs rejoice as Chancellor takes a penny off the pint

22 March 2013

The Chancellor today scrapped a planned 3p rise in beer duty in his Budget, then cut it by 1p, before proudly announcing "we're taking a penny off a pint".

Chancellor George Osborne also said he will scrap the "beer duty escalator" altogether, the mechanism that keeps the tax on beer rising every year. But promised all other duties on alcohol would remain.
He told a packed House of Commons today: "That's the freeze people have been campaigning for. But I'm going one step further and I am going to cut beer duty by 1p.
"The cut will take effect this Sunday night and I expect it to be passed on in full to customers."
He said this move would not "transform the finances of any families, but it helps a little to have some bills that aren't going up".
Bizarrely, however, there was no mention in the Budget of tobacco duty, a tax that normally falls into the "sin tax" category alongside alcohol. 
Mike Benner, chief executive of the Campaign Real Ale, welcomed the abolition of the beer duty escalator.
"This is a momentous day for Britain's beer drinkers, who will tonight be raising a glass to the Chancellor for axing this damaging tax escalator and helping keep pub-going affordable for hard-pressed consumers," he said. "This decision will keep the lid on the cost of a pint down the pub.
"Since the duty escalator was introduced in 2008, 5800 pubs have been forced to call last orders for good. What could have been the final nail in the coffin for our pubs has been decisively avoided by the Chancellor in a move that will spark celebration in pubs across the UK."

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