Budget 2015 – celebratory drink or a commiserative tipple?

If our Government needed further proof positive that reducing taxes on alcohol leads to job creation then it need look no further than across the water to the UK where it has been pointed out that beer duty cuts will have created some 16,000 new jobs there without fiscally troubling the UK Government a single whit.

The British Beer & Pub Association in conjunction with CAMRA and SIBA (The National Brewery Centre) has produced a report entitled Cheers 2014 – the impact of two successive beer duty reductions to back up its claim that cutting the beer duty escalator tax was good for business – and good for Government.

As a result, the UK’s beer sales have had a 500 million pint fillip and seen an extra £44 million invested in capital in the brewing and pub sector there.

What’s more, over 75% of respondents to an optimism survey intend to launch new products across both the beer and pub sector directly a result of that cut in beer duty.

Having commissioned the research from Oxford Economics, Cheers 2014 reviewed the results of the beer duty cuts in terms of lower beer prices for Britain’s pub-goers, the creation of thousands of new jobs, millions of pounds of new investment in UK brewing and public houses, exciting new product innovations, the major boost to the UK beer market itself, increasing – not decreasing – tax revenues and lastly, but not politically ‘leastly’, the move was hugely popular with the public.

“For the first time in over a decade, the UK beer market is back in growth, albeit still a very fragile growth,” glowed the report, “Having fallen by 24% between 2003 and 2013, beer sales were up 1% for the year ending July2014 (latest data).”

And the result from the British Government’s point-of-view?

“The lower duty revenue that would have been the case under the escalator has been largely offset by rises in other employment and sales-related taxes.”

The BB&PA report was presented to Chancellor George Osborne at the Conservative Party Conference, as was a new, special-edition beer, ‘George’s Budget Booster’, to help celebrate the benefits of the duty cut.

Would that here in Ireland, we could have been reporting similarly happy news following a much hoped-for but unrealised tax cut on alcohol in the Irish Budget this month…

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