Chancellor Alistair Darling will unveil his first Budget later today, with higher taxes on alcohol expected.

Darling is expected to announce above-inflation increases on alcohol, with a particular focus on high-strength drinks, as part of the government's attempts to combat binge drinking.

He is also expected to raise duty on spirits. The increase would be the first since 1997.

However, experts have warned increasing prices will not stem binge drinking. "A rise in alcohol duty alone is unlikely to make alcohol significantly more expensive to the consumer or curtail the UK's so-called 'binge-drinking' culture,” said James George, head of strategy consultants OC&C's London retail and consumer goods practice.

"While higher duties will bring in new revenue for the government, it is unlikely to reverse the trend of aggressive promotions seen in the retailers,” he added.

Darling is also expected to warn retailers that they must cut the number of free plastic carrier bags they give out to shoppers or they will be forced to charge for them.