I know the wine, spirits, beer and cider industries; ranging from producers and suppliers to pubs, hotels and restaurants; play an important role in providing employment. I am therefore pleased that Government has listened and reduced the level of alcohol duty on beer, cider and spirits, whilst freezing it for wine.
In fact, during the last Government, when I held the position of Economic Secretary to the Treasury, I was proud to be responsible for abolishing the unpopular beer duty escalator, and securing a cut in beer duty for the first time in over half-century.
Now, for the third year in a row, the tax on a typical pint of beer has been cut by 1p. This means that an average pint of beer is 9p cheaper than it would have been under Labour's plans when they were in power. The duty on spirits and on cider has also been cut by 2 per cent as I know many had campaigned for, while the duty on wine will be frozen. This will keep the duties on beer and wine broadly similar.
I know that the Budget will be delivered in March but I am unable to comment on any policy announcements prior to this. However, I can assure you that the Government is committed to supporting pubs, alongside helping those who work in the beer, spirits, wine and cider industries right across the UK.
The action already taken by the Government is great news for the retail and hospitality sectors, including pubs here in Bromsgrove District, as well as people who work in them. Pubs are an important part of local communities and I welcome this support for them, which protects jobs, and helps hardworking people keep more of the money they earn.