Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Taxing Alcohol

The perceived wisdom is that the Chancellor will raise duties on alcohol quite substantially in tomorrow's Budget as a so-called way of dealing with binge drinking. Of course we all know that this is actually a revenue raising exercise by a skint Chancellor and that it is the at-home-wine-drinkers that are going to be the ones that get hit rather than the drunken youths who litter our high streets on a Friday night.

If the Chancellor was serious about using fiscal measures to act as a disincentive he would consider introducing Conservative proposals to deal with the problem. George Osborne announced recently that he would target tax rises on alcopops, strong ciders and other problem drinks associated with binge drinking. The extra revenue raised will be used to reduce taxes on low strength beer and cider - wines, spirits and 90% of beer and cider consumed in Britain would be unaffected. The Shadow Chancellor said the aim of the package was to discourage young, binge drinkers, and that "the vast majority of law abiding, responsible drinkers" would not be hit.

A far more sensible approach to the problem...which is perhaps therefore why it has not been thought of by this Labour Chancellor!

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