Alcohol duties

The measure

The government has announced that all alcohol duties will remain frozen for fiscal year 2020/21. This includes alcohol duty rates for beer, wine, cider and spirits.

Additionally, a consultation has been announced to review the existing alcohol duty framework.

Furthermore, the government will publish the results of a review into small brewer’s relief (SBR), which was announced in the 2018 budget.


Who will be affected?

Consumers and businesses who trade in alcohol.


When will the measure come into effect?

The freeze in duty applies immediately.

A call for evidence in respect of alcohol duty will be published in the summer. In recognition of the complexity of the current system, any reforms are to be implemented after the transition period. i.e. after 31 December 2020.

The results of the small brewer’s relief review will be published in Spring 2020.

Our view

Freezing alcohol duties will be popular with consumers and businesses that trade in alcohol, many of whom will have anticipated an increase in duties.

The consultation will review possible changes to the alcohol duty framework once the UK is no longer obliged to apply the EU alcohol directives, for example the way in which duty is calculated, or whether the various alcohol duty bandings within a particular regime (e.g. beer duty or wine duty) could be altered or reduced.