Osborne's reductions on living costs remain small

Peter Spence
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Chancellor George Osborne's budget saw beer down 1p a pint (with the beer duty escalator abolished), but this reduction remains a small one. Slow wage growth, high inflation and burdensome taxation will still squeeze consumers.

1p off beer duty. Median household just need to buy around 900 pints a week to make back loss from 2011's VAT rise.

— Duncan Weldon (@DuncanWeldon) March 20, 2013

Meanwhile increases to other alcohol duties were announced. Wine is up 10p a bottle, spirits 38p for a bottle, cider up 3p a pint and the duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes is up by 26p. While the reduction in beer duty and total abolition of the escalator is to be celebrated, hopefully the campaigns that achieved it will now direct their attention at other over taxed drinks.

Fuel duty freezes and an increase in personal allowance will help household budgets, but the burdens of regulation remain responsible for a large part of the costs of consumers. Reducing duties more dramatically and deregulating industries such as energy could make a tight situation for many people much easier.