Price of a pint frozen as Rishi Sunak's Budget 2021 scraps alcohol duty rises

BRITS won't pay any more for a pint in the pub after Rishi Sunak announced he is freezing alcohol duty for the second year in a row.

The Chancellor froze tax on alcohol in his Budget today in a bid to boost pub sales for struggling boozers after the coronavirus lockdowns.

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Increases to duty on beer, cider, spirits and wine were scrapped in last year's Budget for only the second time in 20 years.

It means this is the third time any Chancellor has frozen the duty in two decades.

Alcohol prices usually rise each year in the Budget in line with RPI inflation, which is currently 0.7%, unless the Government freezes or cuts it.

Speaking today, Mr Sunak said: "This is a tough time for hospitality, so I can confirm that the planned increases in duties for spirits like scotch whisky, wine, cider and beer will all be cancelled.

"All alcohol duties frozen for the second year in a row – only the third time in two decades."

What is the Budget?

THE Budget is when the government outlines its plans for tax hikes, cuts and things like changes to the minimum wage.

It's different to the Spending Review, which sets out how much public cash will go towards funding certain departments, devolved government's and services, such as the NHS.

The Budget is read out in the House of Commons by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. It wis Rishi Sunak's second Budget as Chancellor.

Mr Sunak's first one in March last year has been dubbed the "coronavirus Budget" after it focused on supporting Brits financially through the crisis, rather than the government's "levelling up" agenda as promised in the 2019 general election.

Normally, the Budget is held once a year but the unprecedented circumstances of the pandemic in 2020 saw Mr Sunak give a "mini-budget" in the Commons on July 8 2020.

The average price of a pint in the UK is currently £3.81, according to the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).

Meanwhile, the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) estimates the average price of a bottle of wine in the UK is currently £5.93.

Conservative MPs last week urged the Chancellor to cut beer duty to help the struggling pub and hospitality sector survive.

Changes to alcohol duty could boost pub sales by 100 million pints a year, the Social Market Foundation said.

Pubs are expected to reopen from April 12 at the earliest for outdoor eating and drinking under the Prime Minister Boris Johnson's roadmap for leaving lockdown.

Diners and drinkers will be able to head in doors from May 17, as long as coronavirus infection rates and deaths remain low.

The Treasury undertook a review on alcohol duty last year.

Here's when you can start booking a table in the pub when lockdown lifts – from Wetherspoons to Greene King.

But customers will have to follow a strict set of rules when pubs and restaurants do open again.

However, the hated 10pm curfew will be scrapped and drinkers won't have to order a substantial meal with their alcohol.


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