Tax blitz on strong lager

Julian Harris
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SUPER strength lager will be hammered by higher taxes, Downing Street said yesterday.
Beer containing more than 7.5 per cent alcohol will face extra duties from autumn 2011. The March budget is expected to reveal the details.

The government will also look to reduce tax on beers that contain less than 2.8 per cent alcohol.

“We are pleased that the government has decided to reduce duty for these beers,” said Neil Williams of the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA).

Conservative Treasury minister Justine Greening told parliament the measures would “address the harms associated with problem drinking.”

And a spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said they would use tax as an instrument to influence people’s choices. “We can create incentives for production and consumption to change,” they said.

The tax hike will affect less than 0.5 per cent of alcohol sales, and less than one per cent of beer sales.

The news came as local government in Manchester said they would consult the public over plans to impose a minimum price of alcohol on all stores and pubs.

But the plans were criticised by Mark Littlewood of the Institute of Economic Affairs. “If the government wants to put personal responsibility at the heart of Britain’s health reforms it must stop nannying people,” he said.