The Budget contained good news for beer drinkers who will see the price of a pint cut by 1p from Sunday night.
The Chancellor said he was scrapping the “beer duty escalator” which would annually increase beer duty of 2% above inflation until 2015 as well as “taking a penny off the pint”.
The measure was designed to help the embattled pub industry which has seen 10,000 pubs close over the past decade.
“Responsible drinkers in our pubs should not pay the price of problems cause by others,” said Osborne, “I intend to maintain the planned rise for all alcohol duties with the exception of beer.”
The duty of all other types of alcohol will rise in line with the “duty escalator” – an increase in duty on alcohol every year set at two percentage points above inflation. The policy had been introduced by Labour chancellor Alistair Darling and is due to run until 2014/5.
The news of a cheaper pint of beer was welcomed by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).
“This is absolutely brilliant news, and it will make George Osborne the toast of Britain’s pubs today. By cutting the tax on beer, he has moved to boost jobs in Britain’s pubs at a time when it is most needed,” said Brigid Simmonds, BBPA chief executive.
He added: “In also abolishing the Beer Tax escalator, the Chancellor has ended a hugely damaging policy that would have made Britain’s’ beer the most heavily taxed in Europe. This will protect thousands of jobs this year, and will allow us to create many new jobs in this brilliant industry.”
By Emma Lunn