Drinkers face double-digit tax rise next week with Jeremy Hunt set to put booze up in line with inflation | The Sun

DRINKERS face a double-digit tax hike next week as the Chancellor puts it up in line with inflation.

Jeremy Hunt is expected to announce excise duties will go up later this year after a six month freeze, The Sun understands.

Spirits like gin and Scotch whisky are already taxed at an eye watering 70 per cent, but face a raise based on RPI inflation after August – currently at 13.4 per cent.

Distillers and brewers have been begging the Chancellor to extend the freeze as they face huge cash pressures.

Last night they warned a double-digit hike would only fuel inflation even further.

Mark Kent, Chief Executive of the Scotch Whisky Association, added: "Scotch Whisky is already the most highly taxed alcoholic drink in the UK. This is not how the French treat their world-famous wine industry.

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"A double-digit tax rise, which distillers face without action from the Chancellor, will put further pressure on the industry already weighed down by increased regulation like the Deposit Return Scheme, high inflation and rising costs."

Last night both the PM and Chancellor dampened hopes among Tory MPs that they will see tax cuts next week – and that inflation is the number one priority right now.

Speaking to reporters last night, the PM said it was still his "ambition" to slash taxes, but Covid and the Ukraine war had had a "major, damaging impact on our public finances".

He added: "Over time I've been very clear, my ambition is to cut taxes… [but] the economic priorities are to halve inflation, reduce debt and grow the economy.

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"I'm confident the Chancellor's Budget will deliver on all of those – that is the focus."

As the Chancellor was busy putting the finishing touches on his first big budget, he said he did want to "keep taxes down" – but stressed he needed to put the country on the path to "sustainable, long-term, healthy growth" first.

He told GB News putting up corporation was "not what I want at all" but insisted he had to reverse the tragic mini-budget from Liz Truss and stabilize the nation's finances.

He added: "If we're going to cut taxes permanently, then it needs to be a tax cut that we earn, through higher growth and the first step is stability.

"We do want to bring down our effective corporation tax rates – I want them to be the most competitive. We can't get there all in one go – stability matters."

Meanwhile, the Treasury announced a huge £20billion over the next 20 years will be spent on new carbon capture technology in a bid to suck dirty emissions out of the air -promising "spades in the ground" in months.

And a new competition bid to build dozens of small nuclear reactors to boost our energy supply and slash bills will be launched later this year.

Mr Hunt said last night: "We don't want to see high bills like this again, it's time for a clean energy reset."

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