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19-03-2014, 19:42
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Well, the relatively small number of people who responded to my poll weren’t very optimistic about the prospects for any further duty concessions in the Budget, but they were proved completely wrong.
George Osborne surprised everyone with what was probably the budget in living memory most favourable to producers, retailers and consumers of alcoholic drinks. The duty escalator was scrapped for all drinks categories (as I urged in this month’s Opening Times column (http://curmudgeoncolumns.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/march-2014.html)), but he went further than this by cutting the main rate of beer duty by a further penny a pint, and by freezing duty on spirits and “standard” cider, both of which are substantial British industries.
So I’ll certainly be raising a glass to that tonight!
Just wait for the chorus of whining and predictions of doom from the anti-drink lobby.

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