Bradford hotelier backs alcohol group call for duty rise U-turn

Gary Peacock

Gary Peacock

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

British pubs, bars and restaurants, including those across the Bradford district, could be £100 million worse off under Government plans to raise alcohol duties, according to figures released by an industry campaign group.

The Call Time On Duty campaign is calling for the Chancellor George Osborne to scrap the Alcohol Duty Escalator, which increases tax on alcohol by two per cent above inflation, in the March Budget.

The group – led by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, the Scotch Whisky Association and The TaxPayers’ Alliance – claims the industry will be hit with an additional £100m tax bill unless the escalator is removed, something they state independent research has found would actually boost Government finances by £230m and create about 6,000 jobs.

The campaign is supported Gary Peacock, general manager of the Midland Hotel in Cheapside, Bradford, who said about four in ten of alcohol sales in its restaurant and bar could be attributed to wines and spirits.

“This tax has got to stop as it just makes the hospitality sector look more and more expensive,” he said. “Alcohol duty is just an easy tax hit, but it can’t keep going up as, ultimately, it will cost people’s jobs.”

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, said: “George Osborne has committed to helping pubs, bars and restaurants, and he can do so this by abandoning plans to hike up their tax bill. Calling a halt to the alcohol super tax and ending the duty escalator will help businesses, improve Government finances and create jobs. It’s time to call time on duty.”

In last year’s Budget, instead of a planned 3p price rise, the Chancellor cancelled the duty escalator on beer in attempt to redress pub closures, citing the fact that 10,000 had closed in a decade. That included more than 100 across the Bradford district.

The escalator on wines and spirits remains in place and at a Parliamentary reception this week, MPs heard that since the escalator was introduced in 2008, duty has increased by half for wine and 44 per cent for spirits.

Andrew Allison, The TaxPayers’ Alliance’s spokesman for Yorkshire, said: “Taxpayers will be rightly outraged that, on average, 79p in every pound they spend on a bottle of spirits and 57p in every pound spent on a bottle of wine now goes to the taxman.

“The Chancellor did the right thing for beer drinkers last year by scrapping the escalator on beer tax, he should now do right by those of us who enjoy a glass of wine or something stronger and scrap these ridiculous guaranteed tax hikes once and for all.”

According to Office for National Statistics figures, the wine and spirit industry supported 475,000 jobs in the UK in 2012, contributing more than £40 billion to the economy.

Comments (5)

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9:37am Sat 18 Jan 14

MontyLeMar says...

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that alcohol abuse costs the NHS billions of pounds a year. So why oh why does the government only go for the easy targets, the pubs and restaurants, to grab their taxes? The supermarkets have done more to damage the nation's health by selling cheap alcohol - it is they who should be targeted. A minimum alcohol price should be introduced immediately or not only will we be losing more jobs in the leisure sector but more people will be dieing needlessly as they continue to swill down cheap supermarket booze. Call me cynical but it hasn't to do with the drinks industry being large party donors has it?
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that alcohol abuse costs the NHS billions of pounds a year. So why oh why does the government only go for the easy targets, the pubs and restaurants, to grab their taxes? The supermarkets have done more to damage the nation's health by selling cheap alcohol - it is they who should be targeted. A minimum alcohol price should be introduced immediately or not only will we be losing more jobs in the leisure sector but more people will be dieing needlessly as they continue to swill down cheap supermarket booze. Call me cynical but it hasn't to do with the drinks industry being large party donors has it? MontyLeMar
  • Score: 1

12:42pm Sat 18 Jan 14

mad matt says...

MontyLeMar wrote:
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that alcohol abuse costs the NHS billions of pounds a year. So why oh why does the government only go for the easy targets, the pubs and restaurants, to grab their taxes? The supermarkets have done more to damage the nation's health by selling cheap alcohol - it is they who should be targeted. A minimum alcohol price should be introduced immediately or not only will we be losing more jobs in the leisure sector but more people will be dieing needlessly as they continue to swill down cheap supermarket booze. Call me cynical but it hasn't to do with the drinks industry being large party donors has it?
Absolutely agree with you - especially the last sentence !
People tend to drink cheap booze at home, but the pubs, which used to be a valuable social space for people to chat to neighbours and friends, and pass a very enjoyable evening playing darts, cribbage or dominoes are closing down because of a lack of footfall due to the exorbitant prices. This is driving away a large proportion of the customers.
Where is there now for older members of society to go for a reasonably priced evening out ? OK it's NOT cheap, but for the price of a couple of pints you had a whole evening of entertainment and company. If they do want to have a drink alone - OK, but where's the fun in that?
[quote][p][bold]MontyLeMar[/bold] wrote: There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that alcohol abuse costs the NHS billions of pounds a year. So why oh why does the government only go for the easy targets, the pubs and restaurants, to grab their taxes? The supermarkets have done more to damage the nation's health by selling cheap alcohol - it is they who should be targeted. A minimum alcohol price should be introduced immediately or not only will we be losing more jobs in the leisure sector but more people will be dieing needlessly as they continue to swill down cheap supermarket booze. Call me cynical but it hasn't to do with the drinks industry being large party donors has it?[/p][/quote]Absolutely agree with you - especially the last sentence ! People tend to drink cheap booze at home, but the pubs, which used to be a valuable social space for people to chat to neighbours and friends, and pass a very enjoyable evening playing darts, cribbage or dominoes are closing down because of a lack of footfall due to the exorbitant prices. This is driving away a large proportion of the customers. Where is there now for older members of society to go for a reasonably priced evening out ? OK it's NOT cheap, but for the price of a couple of pints you had a whole evening of entertainment and company. If they do want to have a drink alone - OK, but where's the fun in that? mad matt
  • Score: 3

2:52pm Sat 18 Jan 14

alive and awake says...

I agree the duty is far too high, but lets not forget some of the mark ups some of these Hotels operate on. £4 bottles of wine become £16-95 for example.
and the gp margins on beer/lagers running at 75% plus in some cases, so they have to accept some blame for loss of trade.
I agree the duty is far too high, but lets not forget some of the mark ups some of these Hotels operate on. £4 bottles of wine become £16-95 for example. and the gp margins on beer/lagers running at 75% plus in some cases, so they have to accept some blame for loss of trade. alive and awake
  • Score: 6

10:32pm Sat 18 Jan 14

Papa Smurfs Wig says...

MontyLeMar wrote:
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that alcohol abuse costs the NHS billions of pounds a year. So why oh why does the government only go for the easy targets, the pubs and restaurants, to grab their taxes? The supermarkets have done more to damage the nation's health by selling cheap alcohol - it is they who should be targeted. A minimum alcohol price should be introduced immediately or not only will we be losing more jobs in the leisure sector but more people will be dieing needlessly as they continue to swill down cheap supermarket booze. Call me cynical but it hasn't to do with the drinks industry being large party donors has it?
I'm with you Monty and I'm in the trade and for years I have been seething at the supermarket hold on cheap booze.

Publicans can say no more to someone but if a person was to buy half a dozen cases of booze at a supermarket then that bloke can drink to infinity and cause mayhem. Sometimes you can get a litre of Smirnoff for £15 and that is forty measures. Some people are sinking this in one night and then go to the pub and cause bother or be sick.

In years to come the NHS will be stretched with people with alcohol related problems from the liver to god knows what and it will cost the tax payer more in the end. These prices have to be put up a lot, not the 45p per unit that they didn't bother with. Andy my cynical side says some politicians are getting dividends or backhanders to keep quiet.

Soon there will hardly be many pubs at all and then the supermarkets will hike up the prices beyond the dozen or so pubs prices and the stay at home drinkers will be seething.
[quote][p][bold]MontyLeMar[/bold] wrote: There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that alcohol abuse costs the NHS billions of pounds a year. So why oh why does the government only go for the easy targets, the pubs and restaurants, to grab their taxes? The supermarkets have done more to damage the nation's health by selling cheap alcohol - it is they who should be targeted. A minimum alcohol price should be introduced immediately or not only will we be losing more jobs in the leisure sector but more people will be dieing needlessly as they continue to swill down cheap supermarket booze. Call me cynical but it hasn't to do with the drinks industry being large party donors has it?[/p][/quote]I'm with you Monty and I'm in the trade and for years I have been seething at the supermarket hold on cheap booze. Publicans can say no more to someone but if a person was to buy half a dozen cases of booze at a supermarket then that bloke can drink to infinity and cause mayhem. Sometimes you can get a litre of Smirnoff for £15 and that is forty measures. Some people are sinking this in one night and then go to the pub and cause bother or be sick. In years to come the NHS will be stretched with people with alcohol related problems from the liver to god knows what and it will cost the tax payer more in the end. These prices have to be put up a lot, not the 45p per unit that they didn't bother with. Andy my cynical side says some politicians are getting dividends or backhanders to keep quiet. Soon there will hardly be many pubs at all and then the supermarkets will hike up the prices beyond the dozen or so pubs prices and the stay at home drinkers will be seething. Papa Smurfs Wig
  • Score: 4

10:17am Sun 19 Jan 14

alive and awake says...

Papa Smurfs Wig wrote:
MontyLeMar wrote:
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that alcohol abuse costs the NHS billions of pounds a year. So why oh why does the government only go for the easy targets, the pubs and restaurants, to grab their taxes? The supermarkets have done more to damage the nation's health by selling cheap alcohol - it is they who should be targeted. A minimum alcohol price should be introduced immediately or not only will we be losing more jobs in the leisure sector but more people will be dieing needlessly as they continue to swill down cheap supermarket booze. Call me cynical but it hasn't to do with the drinks industry being large party donors has it?
I'm with you Monty and I'm in the trade and for years I have been seething at the supermarket hold on cheap booze.

Publicans can say no more to someone but if a person was to buy half a dozen cases of booze at a supermarket then that bloke can drink to infinity and cause mayhem. Sometimes you can get a litre of Smirnoff for £15 and that is forty measures. Some people are sinking this in one night and then go to the pub and cause bother or be sick.

In years to come the NHS will be stretched with people with alcohol related problems from the liver to god knows what and it will cost the tax payer more in the end. These prices have to be put up a lot, not the 45p per unit that they didn't bother with. Andy my cynical side says some politicians are getting dividends or backhanders to keep quiet.

Soon there will hardly be many pubs at all and then the supermarkets will hike up the prices beyond the dozen or so pubs prices and the stay at home drinkers will be seething.
Pubs are declining for a number of reasons including, over charging, badly managed by people with no idea what so ever how to run a pub, themselves employed by chains who themselves are being badly managed. These type of pubs encourage the wrong type of customer who in turn, drive away the right type of customer.
[quote][p][bold]Papa Smurfs Wig[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]MontyLeMar[/bold] wrote: There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that alcohol abuse costs the NHS billions of pounds a year. So why oh why does the government only go for the easy targets, the pubs and restaurants, to grab their taxes? The supermarkets have done more to damage the nation's health by selling cheap alcohol - it is they who should be targeted. A minimum alcohol price should be introduced immediately or not only will we be losing more jobs in the leisure sector but more people will be dieing needlessly as they continue to swill down cheap supermarket booze. Call me cynical but it hasn't to do with the drinks industry being large party donors has it?[/p][/quote]I'm with you Monty and I'm in the trade and for years I have been seething at the supermarket hold on cheap booze. Publicans can say no more to someone but if a person was to buy half a dozen cases of booze at a supermarket then that bloke can drink to infinity and cause mayhem. Sometimes you can get a litre of Smirnoff for £15 and that is forty measures. Some people are sinking this in one night and then go to the pub and cause bother or be sick. In years to come the NHS will be stretched with people with alcohol related problems from the liver to god knows what and it will cost the tax payer more in the end. These prices have to be put up a lot, not the 45p per unit that they didn't bother with. Andy my cynical side says some politicians are getting dividends or backhanders to keep quiet. Soon there will hardly be many pubs at all and then the supermarkets will hike up the prices beyond the dozen or so pubs prices and the stay at home drinkers will be seething.[/p][/quote]Pubs are declining for a number of reasons including, over charging, badly managed by people with no idea what so ever how to run a pub, themselves employed by chains who themselves are being badly managed. These type of pubs encourage the wrong type of customer who in turn, drive away the right type of customer. alive and awake
  • Score: 4

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