Treasury review

Alcohol duty cut in pubs considered by Sunak

Pubs face pressure from ‘cheap supermarket booze’

Pubs may see alcohol duty cut below the rate paid in supermarkets under plans being considered by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

He is being tipped to treat pubs differently to large retailers to stop them being undercut by cheap supermarket booze. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed in the Commons that a review has been carried out and Mr Sunak is “looking very closely at the findings”. 

Tory MP Giles Watling warned that pubs were closing across the country.

“This terrible pandemic has made things even worse but part of the problem is undercutting by cheap supermarket booze,” he said during Prime Minister’s Questions. 

“Now we are out of the EU surely we can do as we please on beer duty. 

“Differentiation in favour of on-sales could deliver great benefits to pubs.

“Will my right honourable friend commit ministers to look at this differentiation proposal?”

Mr Johnson replied: “There is just such a review being carried out after consulting pub owners and brewers and others and I know that the Chancellor is looking very closely at the findings.”

Mr Sunak may make an announcement in next week’s Budget.

The move is believed to be part of a feelgood package of Budget measures intended to cheer up the nation after a grim year.


Mr Sunak is expected to offer more help for hospitality

There could be help for motorists and the housing market among a number of eye-catching policies. A 5p increase in fuel duty could be scrapped

He is said to be considering extending the stamp duty holiday in England to the end of June, together with  VAT and business rate cuts for the hospitality and tourist industries.

He has been urged to cut duty on Scotch whisky to help offset the punishing US levies which have wiped £500m from export sales. Mr Sunak may see a cut as a vote-winner ahead of the Scottish elections and a means of helping build support for the union.

He may announce a voucher scheme to encourage shoppers back to Britain’s battered high streets and an extension to the furlough scheme to protect jobs.

However, businesses may be hit by a hike in corporation tax over the course of the current parliament. 

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