Guinness boss slams Sunak over booze tax on day he was heckled at beer festival

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Guinness boss slams Sunak over booze tax on day he was heckled at beer festival
Guinness boss slams Sunak over booze tax on day he was heckled at beer festival

Booze experts poured scorn on Rishi Sunak as he tried to crow about his tax changes for drinkers.

The maker of Guinness slammed them. While, Mr Sunak was heckled at the Great British Beer Festival where he tried to promote the duty shake-up. Landlord Rudi Keyser, 46, yelled: “Oh, the irony that you’re raising alcohol duty on the day that you’re pulling a pint.”

Mr Keyser later said Mr Sunak’s claim that drinkers and businesses will benefit is “smoke and mirrors”. He added: “It’s robbing Peter to pay Paul.” Mr Keyser, who runs a pub in Wimbledon, South West London, joined the teetotal Prime Minister at the event in West London. Under plans announced by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt in March, alcohol duty rose by about 10% yesterday.

It came amid a shake-up set out by Mr Sunak in 2021 when he was Chancellor, with booze now taxed by strength. Nuno Teles, boss of the UK arm of Diageo, which makes Smirnoff vodka as well as Guinness, called the duty rise “a hammer blow for consumers”. He added: “The Chancellor could have done better.”

Guinness boss slams Sunak over booze tax on day he was heckled at beer festival eidexiqreiqtrinvRishi at the beer festival (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Mr Teles said the tax burden on the average priced bottle of Scotch whisky now stood at 75%. The changes mean lower duty on low alcohol drinks but higher taxes on some others. The Scotch Whisky Association has also blasted the duty increase.

Out of touch Rishi Sunak doesn't regularly read papers or online news sitesOut of touch Rishi Sunak doesn't regularly read papers or online news sites

Director of strategy Graeme Littlejohn said: “At a time when inflation has only just started to creep downwards, this tax increase will continue to fuel inflation and make it more difficult for the Scotch whisky industry to invest in growth and job creation in Scotland and across the UK supply chain.

Do you agree with the changes to alcohol duty? Vote in our poll HERE to have your say.

According to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, duty on a typical bottle of 12% strength wine will rise by 44p. Mr Hunt said: “The changes we’re making to the way we tax alcohol catapults us into the 21st century, reflecting the popularity of low alcohol drinks and boosting growth in the sector by supporting small producers financially.”

How YOUR favourite tipple could be affected:

* Bottle of vodka - 37.5% alcohol by volume (ABV) - 76p more tax

* Bottle of red wine - 12% ABV - 44p more tax

* Bottle of sherry - 15% ABV - 97p more tax

* Bottle of port - 20% ABV - £1.30 more tax

* 500ml bottle of beer - 4.5% ABV - 4p more tax (no change to draught duty).

Graham Hiscott

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