DRINKERS could see the price of their favourite tipple slashed after Rishi Sunak announced the biggest shake-up to booze tax in a century.
In his Autumn Budget, the Chancellor branded the current system of alcohol taxation as “irrational” and vowed a major overhaul.
The price of your favourite drinks could be set to come down under a radical overhaul of alcohol tax
Under the current complicated system there are 15 bands of alcohol tax. But this will be reduced to just six.
Drinks will now be taxed according to their alcohol content.
It will bring an end to the so-called Girls Night Out tax, which sees wine and fizz subject to much higher rates of duty than beer.
The move will bring the tax on a 10.5% ABV rose drop by 23p a bottle.
Mr Sunak said the reforms were “progressive” and “much-needed”, and would mark the biggest shake-up to alcohol tax in decades.
The Chancellor said the changes would be fairer and reflect how people drink today.
However, thirsty punters may have to wait to get their hands on bargain booze.
The changes will not come into effect until February 2023, and even then, there's no guarantee shops and pubs will pass on the savings.
Here we look at how the announcement will affect the price of your favourite drinks.
What booze is getting cheaper?
Fizz fans are in for the biggest price fall, with a whopping 87p set to come off a bottle of Canti Prosecco.
Mr Sunak said that consumption of sparkling wines like prosecco had doubled and are no stronger than still wines, so should not be taxed differently.
“I'm going to end the irrational duty premium of 28% that they currently pay,” he added.
“Sparkling wines – wherever they are produced – will now pay the same duty as still wines of equivalent strength.”
The tax cut will knock 64p off a bottle of Freixenet Prosecco (12% ABV) and the same amount off a bottle of Chapel Down English Sparkling wine.
A bottle of Martini Asti (7.5% ABV) will come down by £1.07.
Cider and beer
For the first time, the tax on fruit cider and beer will be brought in line.
That means a 20% duty cut on draught fruit cider, bringing the price of a pint down by 13p.
Fruit cider accounted for just one in every 1,000 ciders sold in 2005 but today make up one in four cider sales, the Chancellor said.
“But they can pay two or three times as much duty as cider that is made with apples or pears. So I'm cutting duty on them too,” he added.
The tax cut will knock 1p off a bottle of fruity Kopparberg or Old Mout cider when you buy a bottle in a shop.
A pint of Kopparberg Strawberry and Lime would be 13p cheaper in a pub.
Duty rates for all draught beer and cider will be cut by 5%, which will take 3p off the price of a pint.
That's the biggest cut to beer duty for 50 years, and the biggest cut to cider for a century.
With lower-strength beer now in a new band, the price of a 3.4% ABV pint will drop by 25p.
While there will be no change in shop prices, it means you'll get a pint of Stella Artois, Guinness, Fosters or Carling for 3p less in pubs.
A pint of Adnams Lighthouse would be 25p cheaper in a pub and 22p for a shop-bought bottle.
Gin in a tin and liqueurs
Fans of a gin in a tin will see the price come down 9p as the new tax system will recognise the lower ABV of pre-mixed drinks.
A Gordon's Pink Gin and Tonic will cost £1.80 per 250ml shop-bought can – down 9p.
A can of Jack Daniels and Cola will cost 12p less, Pimm's No. 1 Cup and Lemonade 10p less, and a Malibu Pina Colada 9p less.
These figures are for shop-bought pre-mixed cans.
Those who like an after dinner Bailey's will see the price of a bottle fall by 41p under the new rules.
Meanwhile, a bottle of Aperol Aperitivo will come down by 26p and Tia Maria by 48p.
Which drinks are getting more expensive?
The tax overhaul is not good news for all drinkers though.
With the new system now directly linking the price of alcohol to its strength, some higher ABV products will go up in price.
A bottle of 7.5% ABV Frosty Jack's cider, for example, would pay 45p more tax and the same for 7.5% ABC Ace Cider.
A can of 4.8% ABV Thatcher's Gold cider would be subject to a penny more in duty.
Red wines, which tend to have a higher ABV than white or rose wines, will also pay more duty.
A bottle of 13% ABV Hardy's VR Merlot will pay 35p more tax and 13.5% ABV Campo Viejo Rioja 47p more.
The price of sherry and port is also set to climb under the revamped system.
A bottle of 20% ABV Taylor's Port would pay £1.09 more in tax and Harveys Sherry (17.5% ABV) 51p more.
How will the new system work?
Under the overhauled tax system, the number of bands for alcohol tax will be reduced from 15 to just six.
Duty rates for draught beer and cider will be brought into line, cutting 3p off the price of beer and 13p off fruit cider, which has previously been subject to much higher tax.
The Government said it would introduce a new rate for low alcohol drinks of less than 3.5% ABV to incentivise the development of new products in the hopes this will encourage more responsible drinking.
There will be rates for products between 1.2% and 3.4% ABV, 3.5% to 8.4% ABV, 8.5% to 22% ABV and those above 22% ABV.
The Chancellor said linking tax to ABV was “common sense”.
All drinks stronger than 8.5% will pay the same rate of duty, regardless of the product type, which will put stronger beers on an equal footing with wine and sprits for the first time.
The reforms will come into effect on February 1, 2023.
A boost for brewers
Small brewers are also set to enjoy a Small Brewers Relief to allow smaller companies to diversify their product ranges.
Finally, a boost to pubs will come in the form of a so-called Draft Relief.
The government will cut duty rates on draught beer and cider by 5%, which should take 3p off the price of a pint.
MPs and publicans have long pleaded with Mr Sunak to cut the so-called “keg tax” amid fears that too many boozers are having to shut their doors.
Duty rates on beer, cider, wine and spirits will also be frozen for another year.
The move is expected to save consumers £3bn over the next five years and help shore up the struggling pubs industry.
Here's the full list of how drinks will be affected
- Stella Artois (4.6%): £3.80 a pint – 3p less tax. No change in shop
- Guinness (4.2%): £4.20 a pint – 3p less tax. No change in shop
- Fosters (4%): £3.20 a pint – 3p less tax. No change in shop
- Carling (4%) : £3.70 a pint – 3p less tax. No change in shop
- San Miguel (5%): £4 a pint – 3p less tax. No change in shop
- Adnams Lighthouse (3.4%): £3.50 a pint – 25p less tax. £1.25 per 500ml bottle in shos – 22p less tax
- Strongbow (4.5%): £3.50 a pint – 2p less tax. 61p per 440ml can in shop – 0.5p less tax
- Magners (4.5%): £3.50 a pint – 2p less tax. 75p per 440ml can in shop – 0.5p less tax
- Stowford Press (4.5%): £3.55 a pint – 2p less tax. 75p per 440ml can in shop – 0.5p less tax
- Thatcher's Gold (4.8%): £3.50 a pint – 0.2p less tax. 71p per 440ml can in shops – 1p more tax
- Frosty Jack's (7.5%): £3.70 per 2.5L bottle in shops – 45p more tax
- Ace Cider (7.5%): £3.99 per 2.5L in shops – 45p more tax
- Strongbow Dark Fruits (4%): £3.70 a pint – 13p less tax. £1 per 440ml can in shop – 1p less tax
- Kopparberg Strawberry and Lime (4%): £3.80 a pint – 13p less tax. £1.65 per 500ml bottle in shop – 1p less tax
- Kopparberg Mixed Fruit (4%): £3.80 a pint – 13p less tax. £1.65 per 500ml bottle in shop – 1p less tax
- Thatcher's Cloudy Lemon Cider (4%) – £1.40 per 440ml can in shops – 1p less tax
- Bulmer's Red Berries and Lime (4%) – £1.30 per 500ml bottle in shop – 1p less tax
- Old Mount Kiwi and Lime (4%) – £1.65 per 500ml bottle in shops – 1p less tax
- JP Chenet Sauvignon Blanc (11%) – £9 per 75CL bottle in shops – 12p less tax
- Porta 6 Vinho Verde (9.5%): £9 per 75CL bottle in shops – 47p less tax.
- Hardy's VR Merlot (13%): £7 per 75CL bottle in shop – 35p more tax
- Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva (13.5%): £16 per 75CL bottle in shop – 47p more tax
- Echo Falls Zinfandel (10.5%): £6.50 per 75CL bottle in shop – 23p less tax
- Blossom Hill Rose (11%): £8 per 75CL bottle in shop – 12p less tax
- Plaza Centro Prosecco (11%): £7 per 75CL bottle in shop – 87p less tax
- Canti Prosecco (11%): £8.50 per 75CL bottle in shop – 64p per less tax
- Martin Asti (7.5%): £7.50 per 75CL bottle in shop – £1.07 less tax
- Chapel Down English Sparking Wine (12%) – £18 per 74CL bottle in shop – 64p less tax
- Gospel Green Sparking Cyder (8.4%): £13.50 per 75CL bottle in shop – 89p less tax
- Buckfast (15%): £8.50 per 75CL bottle in shop – 81p more tax
- Harveys Sherry (17.5%): £12 per 75CL bottle in shop – 51p more tax
- Croft Sherry (17.5%): £12 per 75CL bottle in shop – 51p more tax
- Taylor's Port (20%): £15 per 75CL bottle in shop – £1.09 more tax
- Cockburn's Port (20%): £12 per 75CL bottle in shop £1.09 more tax
- Blandy's Duke of Clarence Madeira (19%): £12 per 75CL bottle in shop – 86p more tax
- Smirnoff Vodka (40%): no change
- Famous Grouse Whisky (40%): no change
- Gordon's Pink Gin and Tonic (5%): £1.80 per 250ml can in shop – 9p less tax
- Jack Daniels and Cola: £2 per 330ml can in shop – 12p less tax
- Pimm's No.1 Cup and Lemonade (5.4%): £1.80 per 250ml can in shop – 10p less tax
- Malibu Pina colada (5%): £1.60 per 250ml can in shop – 9p less tax
- Bailey's Irish Cream (17%): 17 per 70CL bottle in shop 41p less tax
- Malibu White Run with Coconut: £15 per 70CL bottle in shop – 50p less tax
- Aperol Aperitivo (11%): £15 per 70CL bottle in shop – 26p less tax
- Kahlua Coffee Liqueur (16%): £15.50 per 70CL bottle in shop – 38p less tax
- Edinburgh Gin Rhubarb and Ginger (20%): £16.50 per 50CL bottle in shop – 34p less tax
- Tia Maria (20%): £15 per 70CL bottle in shop – 48p less tax
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