Tories suggest tax rise for drinks favoured by young

07 March, 2008

The Conservatives have suggested raising taxes on RTDs, superstrength lagers and ciders in a bid to cut antisocial behaviour among young people.

Unveiling plans today, shadow chancellor George Osborne said trebling taxes on the type of drinks associated with binge-drinking would mean taxes could be reduced on low strength beer and cider, wines and spirits.

He said the aim of the package was to discourage young binge-drinkers, not “the vast majority of law abiding, responsible drinkers.”

Under the Tory plans, the price of RTDs could rise by 50p, a can of superstrength lager by 32p and a three litre bottle of strong cider by £1.25.

However, the plans have been criticised by the Gin & Vodka Association who said RTDs were already in decline.

In a statement it said: "Spirits-based RTDs continue to be in significant decline, so any increase in so-called binge drinking should not be laid at its door."

It said one contributing factor has been the reduction in alcoholic strength of many RTDs.

“RTDs are on average produced at a lower strength than directly competing bottled products such as beer, lager and cider but are significantly more expensive on a pro rata basis.”

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