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Alcohol: Revenue and Customs

Volume 698: debated on Thursday 7 February 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will recalculate the consumption of wine given by HM Revenue and Customs for each of the years 2000–01 to 2006–07 on the basis of the method contained in ONS Methodological Series No 37 paper Estimating alcohol consumption from survey data: updated method of converting volumes to units. [HL1685]

While the ONS methodology gives a single estimate of the current strength of wine it does not show how the strength may have increased over the last few years. HM Revenue and Customs is currently reviewing the methodology it uses to calculate the consumption of pure alcohol from wine, in conjunction with the Office for National Statistics and the Department of Health, in view of new information. Once the review is complete HMRC will recalculate their estimates of the consumption of wine since 2000-01 on the basis of the new methodology.

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Why, as beer is taxed according to its strength, HM Revenue and Customs do not calculate clearances of pure alcohol attributable to beer directly from the amount of tax collected. [HL1686]

The clearances of pure alcohol for beer are derived from the tax receipts and do not depend on the strength of beer.

Figures on the average strength of beer were given in my Written Answer of 10 December 2007 (Official Report, col. WA 15) as this is the strength which links the two published data series on pure alcohol clearances of beer, and on total clearances of beer. However a strength estimate is only necessary in the calculation to convert pure alcohol clearances to quantities for the small proportion of total beer clearances which are not home produced. This is in contrast to clearances of spirits for which we only produce data on pure alcohol and not total clearances and an average strength is not needed.