Calls for alcohol prices in supermarket to rise to help save pubs

BOOZE bought from supermarkets should be hiked up in price while alcohol purchased in pubs and bars should be cut, according to a new report from a think tank.

Under the Social Market Foundation’s proposals, cider bought in supermarkets would almost double in price from around £3.70 to £7.37.

Supermarket stocking alcohol
Supermarket booze should be upped in price claims a think tank
PA:Press Association

While vodka, whisky, beer and wine bought in supermarkets would also rise in price by between 5 per cent and 31 per cent.

But at the other end of the scale, the SMF says the price of spirits, wine and lager sold in pubs and bars should fall by up to 7 per cent.

This would see the price of a pint of 4.5 per cent lager in a pub cut from £3.70 to £3.44.

The SMF says the current tax on drinking is “irrational and inconsistent” as booze is typically taxed depending on the type of alcohol.

It says cider, for example, with a 6 per cent alcohol by volume content (ABV) is taxed at just 7p per unit.

While a low-strength wine also at 6 per cent ABV is taxed at a much higher 50p a unit.

Instead, the SMF reckons all alcohol duty should rise in line with the strength of the drink.

It also wants pubs and bars to pay less tax on low-strength drinks, and see supermarkets pay more on higher strength booze.

This new “pub relief” would allow pubs to claim relief on alcohol excise duty, something the SMF says would boost the dwindling pub trade.

More than 230 pubs have shut their doors this year due to a battle for customers who are turning to cheap supermarket booze.

And one in ten pubs are set to close over the next five years, which trade body Britain’s Beer Alliance says is down to high beer duty.

Scott Corfe, SMF research director and author of the report, said: “A consistent, well-planned duty regime could discourage the riskiest drinking, support the pub trade and reward manufacturers who reduce the strength of their products.”

The Sun has asked the Treasury to comment and we’ll update this story if we get a response.

 

A Treasury spokesperson told the BBC: “We are committed to supporting our pub industry and responsible drinkers, while tackling the sources of harmful drinking.

“That’s why we’ve consistently cut or frozen alcohol duties, saving drinkers £5.2billion, and introduced a new higher rate of tax for harmful high-strength ciders.”

Duty on beer, ciders and spirits was frozen for a year in last autumn’s Budget.


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