Hospitality Ulster reaction to 2016 Budget

16 March 2016

Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Hospitality Ulster said:

“We welcome the support that the Chancellor has specifically given to responsible drinkers and our nation’s pubs. The freezing of duty on the likes of beer and spirits is the right thing to do and demonstrates how the UK government has prioritised the hospitality sector as a key driver of the economy. If only the Northern Ireland Assembly could show that same level of support we would not be operating in a legislative environment that is outdated and prohibiting growth or any chance of growth. The Assembly must bring forward the Liquor Licensing Bill to modernise our industry so that it can fully contribute to the economy just like the Chancellor has recognised today.”


“We are particularly concerned about the potential introduction of a sugar tax on soft drinks and are keen to establish further information on the proposal in due course. Sales of soft drinks from the hospitality sector in Northern Ireland run into the tens of millions of pounds per annum. The sector cannot be forced to foot the bill for this, nor will customers tolerate the passing on of increased costs. We urge the GB government to take a strong look at this before any proposal is introduced in two years’ time.”