Jeremy Hunt extends alcohol duty freeze: ‘We’re backing the Great British pub!’

Jeremy Hunt extends alcohol duty freeze: ‘We’re backing the Great British pub!’

Jeremy Hunt announced an alcohol duty freeze extension in the Budget

Jessica Sheldon

By Jessica Sheldon

Published: 06/03/2024

- 12:48

Updated: 06/03/2024

- 14:24

The freeze in alcohol duty was due to end in August 2024

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has extended the freeze in alcohol duty until next year, which is understood to benefit 38,000 pubs across the UK.

A six-month freeze, announced in the Autumn Statement, had been due to come to an end in August this year, but the duty will now not rise until February 1, 2025.

The Treasury said the decision would cut costs for breweries, distilleries, restaurants, nightclubs, pubs and bars.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mr Hunt said: "We’re backing the Great British pub!"

Pints and glasses in pictures

Breweries, distilleries, restaurants, nightclubs, pubs and bars will benefit from the freeze


The Chancellor told the Commons: “In the Autumn Statement, I froze alcohol duty until August of this year.

"Without any action today, it would have been due to rise by three per cent.”

Mr Hunt said he had listened to representations from MPs about the tax, prompting his decision to extend the freeze.

He added: "This benefits 38,000 pubs all across the UK – and on top of the £13,000 saving a typical pub will get from the 75 per cent business rates discount I announced in the autumn.

"We value our hospitality industry and we are backing the great British pub.”

Whisky 1901 Founder and CEO Aaron Damiano Sparkes said the decision was a "welcome surprise" for the whisky and wider alcohol industry.

However, he warned that the current system "still discriminates between alcohol beverage categories, with consumers who drink 14 units of cider a week being taxed £1.23 versus those who drink Scotch being taxed £4.42".

He added: "Scotch is already the highest-taxed alcoholic product in the UK.

Jeremy Hunt and pints in pictures

Jeremy Hunt has extended the alcohol duty freeze


"This contradicts the UK Government’s pledge to support Scottish Whisky – an industry that contributes £7.1billion in exports to the UK economy and supports more than 66,000 jobs across the UK.

"Scottish distilleries are popular tourist attractions and generate crucial income for other businesses in their local communities.

“Rising taxes don’t just affect producers or consumers of the spirit, but also impact the growing cask investment market - those wishing to explore alternatives to traditional savings accounts and stocks and shares."

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