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UK drinks tax scheme delayed

UK government's new tax scheme that is supposed to simplify alcohol duty by introducing a huge number of rates has been delayed.

In the Autumn budget 2021 the then Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new method of calculating duty on alcoholic beverages including wine. The new rate was based on the alcohol level of the drink and the laws to change the duty were due to be passed by 1 February 2023. However, a pause in the legislation has been made after the initial consultation period. Originally the first draft of the legislation was due out in summer but this has now been delayed, according to the Treasury’s financial secretary Lucy Frazer.

The new legislation was supposed to simplify tax based on the alcohol strength, but gave high strength cider a huge tax break and would have resulted in significant increases on the the duty for most still wines. Duty based on alcohol levels was not allowed under EU laws at it was thought to favour cooler climate countries which tend to have lower alcohol levels.