Pressure Builds on NI Pub Trade as Duty Increases 5 percent

25 March 2010

Following the announcement of a 2 per cent above inflation increase in wine, beer and spirit duty in today�s UK Budget announcement, Colin Neill, Chief Executive of Federation of the Retail Licensed Trade (FRLT), said: �Unfortunately the news of today�s increase in alcohol duty is not a surprise as the UK Government has proven in recent years that it views the alcohol industry as an easy source of revenue. An increase of 2 per cent above inflation will actually amount to over 5 per cent and brings the total increase in duty to 25 per cent over the past two years. It is extremely disappointing to see that the Government continues to penalise the drinks industry. This further increase in duty, in addition to increased overheads, means publicans will now receive just 17 pence profit from the sale of a �3.00 pint of beer. Added to the existing pressure from the economic downturn and increasing competition from below cost supermarket pricing, the survival of many pubs is now in serious jeopardy. Furthermore, the Chancellor also announced that additional duty increases of 2% above inflation from 2013 which will not be sustainable. Urgent action needs to be taken by both Northern Ireland Assembly and the UK Government to review the policies which affect the licensed trade to halt this decline and secure the jobs of the 34,000 workers within the industry.� ENDS