Tory party chairman Grant Shapps has given a strong indication that there will be an alcohol duty cut on spirits in next week’s crucial pre-election Budget.
Shapps, who also has some ministerial responsibility for trade, commented yesterday on the prospect of an alcohol rates cut: “You always have hope when there’s a Budget.Wait and see.”
A Tory insider added: “We’re Tories, we love to cut taxes on things, but you’ll have to wait until next week.”
It is already thought that the Budget will include a reduction of one penny of the price of a pint of beer.
Government sources insist that nothing has been signed off in the Budget yet.
However, Shapps, a known fan of the occasional gin and tonic, is thought to be highly sympathetic to the cause of reducing the duty on spirits, to help UK distillers.
The Conservatives point out that they have already reduced alcohol duty in recent years.
They say a bottle of Scotch whisky is now 42p cheaper than it would have been under plans for a duty escalator that Labour put forward.