SHAAP Director Elinor Jayne responds to the Alcohol Duty changes announced by the Chancellor in the Autumn Budget 2021. 

The Chancellor's five-point plan for alcohol duty reform (announced on 27 October 2021):
  • The number of alcohol duty systems is reduced from 15 to 6 and the guiding principal will be that the stronger the drink, the higher the price.
  • The 'Small Producer Relief' will extend the principle of the 'Small Brewers Relief' to small cidermakers and other producers making alcoholic drinks of less than 8.5% ABV.
  • The alcohol duty system will be modernised to reflect the way that people drink today by cutting “irrational” duties on sparkling wine and cider.
  • The 'Draught Relief' will be introduced to help support pubs by applying a lower rate of duty on draught beer and cider. 'Draught Relief' will cut duty by 5%.
  • The planned increase in duty on spirits like Scotch Whisky, wine, cider and beer, is cancelled. This is a tax cut worth £3bn. 


SHAAP director Elinor Jayne responds: 

“The simplification of the UK’s out-of-date approach to alcohol duty has been long overdue so today’s announcement – at least some of it – is a significant step in the right direction. The current system is woefully out-of-date and does not support the Government’s aims to raise revenue while at the same time protecting public health.

“It is recognised internationally that increasing price is the most effective way to reduce consumption of alcohol and the harms this causes. Therefore, to reduce alcohol harms and the personal and economic costs they entail, we will continue to press the Treasury to carry out a full scale reform so that the overall level of alcohol tax covers the cost of alcohol to health and society.”