HU CEO Welcomes Duty Freeze on Wine, Spirits, Beer
22 November 2017
Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Hospitality Ulster, has welcomed the UK chancellor’s decision not to impose a further duty on wine, spirits and beer in today’s budget, saying it is welcome news for Northern Ireland’s licensed premises, especially pubs.
"We welcome the freeze on duty, today’s decision is a common sense one and will come as welcome relief to licensed premises across Northern Ireland, particularly pubs, which have borne the brunt of alcohol duty increases in recent years,’’ said Colin Neill.
"With £1 in every £3 spend in a pub already going to the Exchequer, clearly the decision not to proceed with a further increase is the reasonable thing to do and will help support our pubs and indeed the wider economy and our tourist offering.
"With over 1,000 pub closures in Northern Ireland since the 70s, it is worth noting that whilst our Hospitality Industry sustains over 60,000 jobs, over 45,000 of these jobs are in food and drink and our pubs remain a major part of our tourism offer.
"Hospitality Ulster has spent a considerable amount of time in Westminster, working closely with our MPs, who have lobbied the UK treasury on our behalf.
"Today’s decision helps protect our pubs and given that we already had a tax increase on alcohol less than 12 months ago, a further increase would have been a disaster. We are in a period where large supermarkets continue to sell cheap alcohol as a footfall driver, leading to a rise in home drinking and pub closures.’’
Sammy Wilson, DUP MP, who has been lobbying for a freeze on beer duty, welcomed the decision.
"The freeze on beer duty is a welcome decision for consumers and the hospitality sector alike.
"In recent months the DUP has lobbied the Chancellor on the importance of freezing duty for the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland and it is clear he has listened.
"The hospitality sector is a strong performing sector of our economy, helping sustain more than 60,000 jobs across the province. An increase in duty would have been an unnecessary burden on an industry which we should all be supporting and which plays a key role in the Northern Ireland economy."