SLTA revisits call for alcohol duty hike on supermarkets
Pubs want to see a cut in excise duty
A group representing the Scottish licensed trade has revived calls for supermarkets to pay more duty on alcohol in order to help the country’s pubs, clubs and hotels.
Campaigners have spent years trying to tip the excise duty balance in favour of bars, a move that Chancellor Rishi Sunak was said to be considering ahead of the Spring Budget.
Now the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) says such a move would help pubs recover from the pandemic and is hoping he might revisit the idea.
The idea would be to cut the duty paid by pubs and raise it on supermarkets in order to make it “revenue neutral”.
Paul Waterson, SLTA spokesperson, said: “Reducing alcohol duty in our pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels and nightclubs would boost hard-pressed licensees who are still not trading at full tilt as they build back from the pandemic.
“Research from the Social Market Foundation in 2019 showed that this could be ‘revenue neutral’ to the Treasury with its analysis setting out how reforms to alcohol duty could boost UK pub sales by 100 million pints a year, providing a lifeline to the hospitality industry and help reduce harmful drinking.”
Mr Waterson said that unlike the on-trade, supermarkets and other retailers selling alcohol had benefited from remaining open throughout the pandemic.
Pubs and bars, he added, saw their businesses forced to shut down and many have not reopened or are trading at reduced hours, leading to job losses and severely impacting local economies across Scotland.