Public health bodies are calling on the Chancellor to use taxation as a lever to address the cheapest alcohol products including 'white ciders' ahead of the spring budget next month, though are competing with opposing calls from alcohol industry bodies. Both taxation and a minimum unit pricing (MUP) featured in a commons debate on alcohol harms on Thursday 2nd February.
The Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) have released a call [pdf] making four recommendations for the government including the reinstatement of the alcohol duty escalator, MUP and to seek a more health adequate duty system based on strength for all products in future trade agreements. Balance, the regional alcohol group for the North East, are also calling on the Chancellor to raise duty on high strength white ciders, such as Frosty Jack’s and White Ace, which have a lower duty per unit than any other alcohol product. They say a targeted rise in duty would leave 80 percent of cider sales unaffected and that 66% of the public would support a duty increase, also highlighting a recent Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) report stating white cider products - sold for as little as 16p per unit of alcohol - are predominantly drunk by dependent and underage drinkers.