Sir, While we welcome the Chancellor's decision to introduce a reduced rate of duty for lower-strength beers, which should help catalyse the further development of such products, we are disappointed he has chosen to proceed with the escalator that will see alcohol duty rise by another 7.2%.

This means alcohol duty will have risen by almost a third in the past three years. We recognise the economic challenges ahead; however, more than 70% of the average retail price of a bottle of Gordon's or Bell's now consists of tax.

That is an unsustainable figure, significantly higher than the equivalent tax proportion on an average litre price of unleaded fuel.

Simon Litherland, MD, Diageo GB

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