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Budget cuts to alcohol prices will fail patients, say critics

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g2284 (Published 21 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2284
  1. Jonathan Gornall
  1. 1London

Health experts have criticised the UK chancellor of the exchequer for reducing the cost of alcohol just 10 months after the government reneged on a pledge to save lives by introducing a minimum price per unit of alcohol.

In the Budget on 19 March George Osborne not only scrapped the alcohol tax escalator, designed to increase duty by 2% above inflation each year, but also froze duties on spirits and cider and reduced the tax on beer by 1p a pint for the second year running.

One effect, celebrated by the Scotch Whisky Association as good news for “hard-pressed consumers,” is that a planned price increase of 40p (€0.5; $0.7) on a bottle of whisky has been abandoned.

The Budget was “another chapter in the saga of a government dancing to the tune of big industry, putting electioneering before patients,” said …

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