Top drinks groups oppose campaign for higher alcohol tax

16 November, 2007

Increasing tax on alcohol as a way to cut alcohol misuse would be "illogical" and have "little or no impact" on the problem, according to drinks industry leaders.

Speaking out in response to the campaign, launched by the newly-formed Alcohol Health Alliance on Nov 13, ­Portman Group chief executive David Poley said: "Considering taxing adult drinkers to stop children breaking the law is illogical, especially as international comparisons prove that higher prices would not deter binge drinkers or people addicted to alcohol."

Five key drinks organisations - the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, the British Beer & Pub Association, the Gin & Vodka Association, the National Association of Cider Makers and the Scotch Whisky Association - wrote an open letter to AHA leader Professor Ian Gilmore three days before the launch.

It said: "In our view, the measures you are seeking would increase the burden on taxpayers, further restrict personal freedoms and limit consumer choice, while at the same time having little or no impact on alcohol misuse.

"In fact, in some areas it may make the situation worse by encouraging an illicit market in alcohol."

England currently has the second-highest excise duty rates on wine and the third-highest on spirits in Europe.

The AHA, a coalition of 24 health organisations who are making it their mission to reduce the effect alcohol has on health, is also calling for a ban on alcohol advertising before 9pm and in cinemas on all films without an 18 rating.

In addition, it wants to see more health warning labels on drink and drink-driving laws toughened.

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