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Beer Duty

Volume 463: debated on Wednesday 6 April 1949

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Perhaps this would be a convenient place to mention a remission of taxation, of almost corresponding amount to the increase in Death Duties which I propose to make. There has been some comment on the amount of profit earned by the brewers, but it is difficult for them to make any reduction in the price of beer unless I can help them by a reduction in the duty charged. There has also been a marked falling off, as I have mentioned, in the consumption of beer over the last few months, due partly, no doubt, to the very high duty which has been imposed by successive Budgets. I have, therefore, come to the conclusion that a remission of duty is practicable, and I have been able to arrange with the brewers to reduce the price of all beers by 1d. a pint, on the basis of the duty being reduced by 21s. per bulk barrel of 36 gallons, irrespective of strength. This will cost the Exchequer £18 million this year and £20 million in a full year. An additional sum of £4 million a year, required to make up the full cost of the concession, will be borne by the brewers. The effect upon the All-Items Cost of Living Index will be to reduce it by about 7/10ths of a point. This change in the duty will operate as from tomorrow.