Cautious welcome from NI Pub Trade on budget announcement

Cautious welcome from NI Pub Trade on budget announcement

22 June 2010

Following today�s first Coalition Government budget announcement, Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Pubs of Ulster, formerly known as the Federation of the Retail Licensed Trade, said:

�While the industry welcomes today�s announcement that there will be no new increases in wine, beer and spirit duty, we do so with caution. The Chancellor was unclear as to whether the previously announced duty increases of 2 per cent above inflation from 2013 will proceed and also confirmed a further review of taxation and the pricing of alcohol which he will report back on in the autumn. The current level of alcohol duty is already 25 per cent higher than two years ago meaning that publicans currently receive just 23 pence profit from the sale of a �3.00 pint of beer. Any further tax increases are unsustainable and will place the survival of pubs and the jobs of the 34,000 people working in the industry here in serious jeopardy. Encouragingly, the Coalition Programme for Government did include a pledge to ban the below cost sale of alcohol. Unfortunately, today�s announcement provided no further clarity on whether this will lead to the introduction of minimum pricing to end below cost selling by supermarkets, or indeed any reassurance that a further social levy or tax will not be enforced on the licensed trade as a blunt measure to address alcohol misuse and binge drinking. Therefore, there is still a great degree of uncertainty as to the Government�s commitment to introducing measures which support rather than penalise the future of the industry.�