Speaking exclusively to The Grocer this week, Heineken UK MD Stefan Orlowski said the lack of any relief from George Osborne was a blow: "On top of what's happening on raw materials, VAT and the excise increases of recent years, it's disappointing to see the escalator retained," he said.
He went on to suggest that the government is likely to earn less revenue because of the move. "I think the government has to be very careful that the tipping point has not already been passed. The market is in decline and has been for years."
AB InBev UK president Stuart MacFarlane joined the attack on Osborne. "This is a disappointing result with inflation far higher today than could have been envisaged when the escalator was brought in, the Chancellor should come to the aid of Britain's brewers," he said. "Instead he has hit us with a tax hike of more than 7%."
The 2% above inflation rise in tobacco duty was slammed by members of that industry as likely to encourage more smokers to use the illicit trade.