Budget 2016: George Osborne gives pub industry reason for cheer but smokers are out in the cold with minimum pricing on tobacco products

Catherine Neilan
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George Osborne has confirmed the government will freeze duty on beer and cider, and whisky - but said a minimum price will be introduced for cigarettes.

The chancellor was unequivocal about his support for the pub and spirits industries, saying: "Today I back our pubs again. I am freezing beer duty and cider duty too.

"We back Scotland and back a vital industry too, with a freeze on whisky and other spirits duty this year."

But smokers were given less to smile about. Duty on tobacco products will rise by two per cent above inflation from midnight tonight.

"Tobacco duty will continue to rise as set out in previous Budgets, by two per cent above inflation from 6pm tonight – while hand rolling tobacco will rise by an additional three per cent," he said. "And to continue our drive to improve public health we will reform our tobacco regime to introduce an effective floor on the price of cigarettes and consult on increased sanctions for fraud."

More to follow...