The UK Government believes that alcohol duties should be related to the alcoholic strength of drinks. Earlier in 2017 the UK Government examined options to amend the structure of the alcohol duty system and did this by consulting on:
- the introduction of a new band to target cheap, high strength ‘white’ ciders, below 7.5% abv
- the impacts of a new lower strength still wine band, to encourage the production and consumption of lower strength wines
IPH submitted a response to this consultation welcoming the opportunity to submit views on the introduction of a new duty band for cider and perry in the UK. IPH highlighted the primary aim of the new taxation should be to protect and promote public health in all UK jurisdictions. Alcohol-related harm is estimated to cost £900 million annually in Northern Ireland (DHSSPS, 2010) we recognise the substantive national and international evidence supporting taxation as an effective measure in reducing consumption and alcohol-related harms (WHO, 2013; OECD, 2015).
The Government has now published a summary of submissions received, listed those who responded and given their response as well next steps.
Next steps from the UK Government include:
- Responses to the Alcohol Structures Consultation gave convincing evidence on the positive impacts of a new still cider and perry duty band, to target “white ciders”. Given concerns expressed by the industry, the government will create a new still cider and perry band at 6.9% to 7.5%, but this will not be implemented until February 2019. This will give time for reformulation and further engagement between government and stakeholders. The government also has no plans to change the current duty exemption for small cider makers producing less than 70 hectolitres.
- Responses to the Alcohol Structures Consultation gave limited evidence on the positive impacts of a new wine band. The government has therefore decided not to proceed with this measure at this time, but will continue to monitor the market and keep this under review.