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No hike in vice levies as 10pc cider tax is scrapped

VICE goods, including alcohol, fuel and tobacco, survived the budget relatively unscathed, with no new duty rises announced.

The rumoured five per cent increase in alcohol duty failed to materialise, although the industry will still be hit by the rise in VAT – likely to add 6p to the average pint.

The biggest winners were cider drinkers who saw George Osborne confirm the expected scrapping of a 10 per cent hike on their favourite tipple, called for by the previous government.

Osborne said: “My Budget today includes no new increases in duties on alcohol, tobacco or fuel.

“We have decided to reverse the previous Government’s plan to increase the duty on cider by 10 per cent above inflation and the reduction will come into effect at the end of this month.”

The news was welcomed by the struggling leisure industry, which says pubs are closing at a rate of 39 a week.