14 May 2009 : Column 13P


Thursday 14 May 2009



Tax (Alcohol)

The Petition of residents of Plymouth

Declares that the tax on beer sold in pubs should not be increased annually.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons ask the Chancellor to remove the beer escalator on beer sold in pubs in his forthcoming budget

And the Petitioners remain, etc. —[Presented by Linda Gilroy , Official Report, 20 April 2009; Vol. 491, c. 122 .]


Observations from the Chancellor of the Exchequer:

The Government notes the petition, and makes the following observations:

14 May 2009 : Column 14P

Alcohol duty is an important revenue stream for the Government and as the hon. Member is probably already aware Budget 2009 increased alcohol duty by 2 per cent. The additional revenue raised from the increase in alcohol duty will support the public finances. All alcohol receives the same tax treatment regardless of where it is sold. Under EU tax legislation, it is not possible to provide tax reliefs targeted specifically at helping pubs such as levying a reduced rate of alcohol duty on cask beer or taxing beer sold in supermarkets differently from that sold in a pub. The EU definition of beer does not include a reference to how it is packaged or served. Therefore beer wherever it is sold has to be taxed at the same rate. However, we have introduced a range of measures that will support the British pub. These include:

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