Chancellor George Osborne has listened to the drink industry, and cancelled alcohol duty rises and cut beer by 1p a pint, an extra sip in the right direction for UK drinkers. Unfortunately Chancellor, this won’t be enough to stop the duty-free booze-cruisers or to fill our empty pubs, you’ll need to slash duty far more than mere sip if you want to do that!
Budget Wednesday – Duty-Free Booze-Cruisers Love George
WIll Chancellor George Osborne this Budget Wednesday take the easy option and grab more dosh from the drinker with yet another duty hike? Behind closed doors the Chancellor will argue that Britain needs the cash and that increasing the tax on alcohol is a sure guaranteed way of bringing in extra revenue quickly. We are not going to disagree there Chancellor. However, in the long term it’s counterproductive whichever way you drink it!
Don’t kid yourself Chancellor! Increasing the duty on alcohol will not stop the drinker that binges to excess – they’ll always find a way to get their fill of booze. It will however, increase the market for the duty-free booze-cruisers. Often referred to as the whitevan.com! No revenue for the Chancellor or Britain from these guys!
Britain’s booze-cruisers cost the country billions of pounds in lost revenue. The rise in cross-channel shopping sees one in seven bottles of wine consumed here arriving tax-free, as well as one in eight bottles of beer and one in ten bottles of spirits. By anyone’s reckoning, this all adds up to an enormous sum – but not one big enough, apparently, to concern our Chancellor.
Not surprisingly then the ‘off & on’ booze trade in the south-east of England, especially, with the Channel ports on their doorstep, have long struggled to make a living, and many have gone bankrupt in recent years. Not enough yet to concern our Chancellor!
There is actually no official record of just how much alcohol enters the country this way, so the above ratios are guesswork. Yet some people in the industry believe these figures underestimate the scale of the problem. They also argue that the UK misses out not only on duty and VAT, but also on the billions of pounds injected into the French economy by these shoppers. Not enough yet to concern our Chancellor!
Obviously, parity with France’s almost non-existent duty levels is out of the question at the moment, but duty certainly needs to be slashed to make such drinks expeditions uneconomic. Why should our loss be France’s gain?
If you are not going to France for the duty free option, and you buy your booze from the supermarkets, the Can I Eat It? iPhone App has over 8000 drinks on it, all with helpful tasting notes. If you have the Can I Eat It? App, you can put the white burgundy below on your iPhone by scanning the barcode below. You don’t have it yet! Download the app now
Marks & Spencer 2009 Saint Roman, White Burgundy, France
Black Sheep Riggwelter Yorkshire Ale, 500ml
Want a well-crafted Yorkshire beer? If the style, size and price fits – put a bottle or pack in the trolley.
Extra Pale Ale The Nottingham Brewery, 500ml
Want a refreshing hoppy session beer? If the style, size and price fits – put a bottle or pack in the trolley.
Meantime London Lager, 500ml
Want a well-crafted Lager? That delivers flavour and that ‘I must have another and another sip’ quality. If the price fits – grab a bottle or pack from the shelf.