DRINKERS are still facing the biggest tax hike since the English Civil War as spirits duties are set to rise.
Today’s Autumn Statement documents, confirmed that tax on spirits like gin and whisky will go up by 12.6% RPI next Spring, which would be the biggest rise since the duty was first brought in in 1643.
The increase was first introduced by then-Chancellor Rishi Sunak last year, with today’s budget confirming that it will go ahead.
This will reportedly vendors with just £3.50 after tax from the average £15.34 bottle to pay suppliers, wages and cover business costs.
Ex-Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng announced plans to freeze booze duties from February 2023 at September’s mini-Budget. But his successor Jeremy Hunt cancelled that when he took over.
Now without an invention from the Treasury, the crippling hike will hit producers and drinkers within months.
In today’s Autumn Statement, Jeremy Hunt announced:
- Up to £1,350 in cost of living payments
- Pension triple lock to stay in £870 boost for seniors
- Benefits including Universal Credit and pension credit to rise with inflation
- New work coach requirements for Universal Credit
- Social housing rents to rise 7%
- Freeze on income tax and National Insurance thresholds
- Stamp duty cut to end in 2025
- Typical energy bills to be capped at £3,000
- Minimum wage to rise to £10.42 an hour
- Extra windfall tax for energy firms
- One million to get £100 for heating oil costs
- Extra £6billion for insulation grants
- Electric car owners to pay road tax from 2025
- Dividend allowance halved
- Inheritance tax and VAT threshold held for two extra years
Retailers are urging the Mr Hunt to freeze duties before next April.
Last night the UK Spirits Alliance (KEEP) hit out: “With spirits duty already one of the highest in the world, this is now set to rise to almost 80% per bottle, and will be a 16% tax increase on consumers, at a time when they can least afford it.”
Mr Hunt and PM Sunak are seeking to balance the books after being left with a reported £50 billion black hole in the public finances.
During his speech, Mr Hunt insisted the UK would “pay its way”.
Today, the Chancellor announced a range of spending cuts and tax rises to achieve this aim.
As well as an increase in spirit duty, this included an increase and extension of the windfall tax paid by energy production companies.
He also revealed that the threshold for the 45p top rate of tax would be lowered.
This is set to cost 246,000 workers around £580 extra per year as they’re pulled from the 40p to 45p band.
However, Mr Hunt is facing a growing revolt among Tory backbenchers over his ‘scrooge’ budget.
Ex-Cabinet Minister Esther McVey said she would not vote to put up taxes on earners unless the £155billion “unnecessary vanity project” of HS2 is scrapped.
Other Tory MPs are also privately raging against the Chancellor’s “Austerity 2.0” package to tackle a £50billion hole in the national finances.
Last night 23 Tory MPs wrote to Mr Hunt to warn him off hiking fuel duty today.
The letter was organised by Keep It Down champion Jonathan Gullis and backed by ex ministers Priti Patel and Brandon Lewis and backbench boss Sir Graham Brady.
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