Daily Archives: 19/03/2015

Budget 2015: third consecutive alcohol duty cut despite health group warnings

This is reblogged from Alcohol Policy UK following yesterday’s UK Budget announcement:

Alcohol duty was again cut in the 2015 budget, winning praise from sections of the alcohol industry but to the dismay of health groups.

The Chancellor George Osborne cut beer duty by one penny on the pint for the third year running, and a 2% cut for spirits and most ciders. Wine duty is unchanged.

A number of alcohol industry groups have continued to call for further cuts to alcohol duty, with a specific ‘Drop the duty’ campaign spearheaded by the Wine and Spirits Trade Association and Scotch Whisky Association.

Speaking in the House of Commons today Osborne said he had dropped duty thanks to the “persistent campaigning of my honourable friends”, referring to a number of Conservative MPs lobbying for cuts to alcohol duty

Brigid Simmonds, Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association said the Chancellor had “listened to consumers, publicans and brewers”, and that the move would boost employment by 3,800. 

However Alcohol Concern’s Jackie Ballard said the government had “once again cast aside the health of the nation to protect the interests of ‘big alcohol”. The Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) had warned against a further cut in its pre budget briefing paper Our NHS can’t afford for alcohol to get any cheaper. However AHA representatives were reportedly denied meetings with health ministers to discuss the potential impact of alcohol duty cuts on the NHS.

The cut is also likely to reduce the already very limited impact of the ‘below cost ban’ , which is based on the rate of duty paid + VAT. Last year’s budget ended the alcohol duty escalator which had seen alcohol duty rise 2% above inflation since 2008.

Alcohol pricing is considered a key policy issue by health groups given the close correlation between consumption and affordability. The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has previously called on taxation to be used as a lever to reduce alcohol harms, although highlighted problems with EU laws which do not structure alcohol at an equivalent rate per unit – an area a recent Lords report also called for reform on.

And these were some of the news stories that have appeared:

Scotch whisky producers toast cut in spirits duty

The Scottish Whisky Association (SWA) said it was the first cut in spirits duty in almost 20 years and only the fourth time that excise on whisky had fallen in a century.

SWA chief executive David Frost said the tax cut was “a historic decision”.

He said: “The chancellor’s announcement will be toasted across the whisky industry and by consumers who are getting a fairer deal on tax when they have a drink of Scotch.”

In last year’s Budget, Mr Osborne froze duty on spirits and scrapped the alcohol duty escalator, which had increased duty annually by inflation plus 2% since 2008.

I’m not anti-business but “alcohol misuse has been exacerbated in recent years as government fail to accept the link between cheap prices, higher consumption and resultant harms to individuals and society” (taken from the Lancet report)

Urghh 🙁

Redemption Bar: alcohol free fabulous-ness

So I was lucky enough to have lunch at Redemption Bar in Holborn recently and just had to rave about it here for a bit.  It is an alcohol free drinking and dining experience where  you can ‘spoil yourself without spoiling yourself.’ Thank you also to Catherine Salway who kindly found a card I’d left there and posted it on to me!

Oh boy where to start?

Drinks – lets start there.  Heaven in a jam jar!!  So it’s very trendy and doesn’t have glasses opting instead for the mason jars that you get in the US.

IMG_7720

We sampled all of the menu offerings and mine was delicious!!  They also have a range of AF beers if that’s more your thing – the Bavaria range (lager, wit and rose) and Radler mainly.

Food – again heaven on a plate and good for you too.  Mainly vegan and beautiful to look at as well as eat.  How about my maki rolls filled with red quinoa, avocado, enoki mushroom, lime and micro amranth shoots?  Had to photograph it before I ate it! 😉

FullSizeRender(1)

And pudding!  Yum yum yum – raw chocolate orange mousse 🙂 A silky mousse made out of avocado, agave syrup, raw cacao and freshly squeezed orange juice topped with coconut shavings and goji berries.

IMG_7725

This was the full menu for the day in case you’re interested:

IMG_7730

Service was impeccable and for it’s location and the quality of food it was exceptionally reasonable too.  I give it a 10/10 and can’t wait to go back.  I was talking to Catherine before I left and when it’s finished it’s pop-up residency here it’s moving to it’s new home at the end of March.  Slightly further east of the city of London I believe 😉