Diageo has called on the government to tax alcoholic drinks according to strength rather than type.
A move toward what the company called “full equivalence between all alcohol types” would see duty on beers, cider and wine hiked over time until it reached the current level for spirits.
The Guinness brewer put forward its proposal in response to Whitehall’s consultation with the industry over alcohol taxation, which closes today. It claimed the change would generate additional revenues of up to £1.9bn a year for the Treasury.
“We believe alcohol excise duty is, and should remain, solely an instrument for raising revenue,” said Diageo GB managing director Simon Litherland.
“Our recommendation is the fairest and most transparent way to approach taxation of alcohol. It would bring revenue to the Government and mean that the more alcohol in the drink, the more tax it will pay.
“Alcohol is alcohol and we believe that people should know they are paying the same tax per unit – whether it is a pint of Guinness, a glass of Blossom Hill or a glass of Johnnie Walker.”
He added: “The proposal to target a tax at RTDs is unfair, inconsistent and disproportionate to the problem. Taxing drinks according to their alcohol content [would] mean strong drinks with more alcohol in them pay more tax.”
Localised minimum pricing won’t stop binge drinking, say retailers (13 August 2010)
Whitehall website wants feedback on alcohol pricing review (13 July 2010)
The four price options to curb binge drinking (3 July 2010)