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The UK chancellor should resist industry lobbying to scrap annual rise in alcohol duty

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 13 March 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2060
  1. Katherine Brown, director
  1. 1Institute of Alcohol Studies, London SW1H 0QS
  1. kbrown{at}

In the forthcoming UK Budget, Chancellor George Osborne, once dubbed “beer drinker of the year” by the alcohol industry, should not relax the rules on alcohol duty that, in the absence of minimum unit pricing, reduce affordability and hence harm, says Katherine Brown

The run up to this year’s UK Budget, to be announced on 19 March, has seen a campaign by the drinks industry calling on the chancellor of the exchequer, George Osborne, to abolish completely the alcohol duty escalator. This has been in place since 2008 to ensure that the price of alcohol rises at 2% above the rate of inflation. In last year’s Budget, after a similar campaign by the brewing sector, Osborne announced that beer would be exempt from duty increases. This decision saw him awarded the title of “beer drinker of the year” by the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, which is funded by the drinks industry.

Now we are seeing yet another assault on alcohol pricing policies from the wine and spirits sector. The “Call time on duty” campaign is being led by the Wine and Spirits …

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