19 May 2022

Opinion from Adrian Leopard & Co

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Budget – it just ain’t like it used to be!
Adrian Leopard 212

Budget – it just ain’t like it used to be!

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Great news for real ale drinkers in pubs!

There has been quite a lot of hype over the up-coming budget with certain calculated leaks being made and incurring the wrath of the Speaker of Parliament.

However when it came, it brought with it a sort of numbing effect – to those who have been around for a long time, it seemed a bit like being in a foreign country. In the olden days, the budget was all about whether the rate of income tax would be going up or down, how much the personal tax allowance would be next year, the increase in tax on fags, whiskey and beer and probably vehicle licence duty. Sometimes we were told about clever tax avoidance schemes and how the government was going to stop them.

It was different today and no one really knows that much detail. Most of the provisions were all stated to be effective from April 2023.

Of particular interest to the hospitality sector would have been the change in number of alcohol rates from 15 to 6. Certainly simplification will be welcome but do we actually know what the new rates are going to be and exactly what effect that will have on prices at the bar? The only figure the Chancellor gave away in the budget was that with the new relief for beer sold from barrels of 40 litres or more, the price at the tap would come down by 3p a pint.

Well, that does not sound that much when you consider that it is quite easy to pay over £5 a pint now in London. And we are all at sixes and sevens over the duty on wines now – some will go up and some will go down but the bands have not been specified yet. Indeed the fact that red wine might attract a higher duty than white wine suggests there could be a band struck at around 13% or 14%.

In addition the planned increases in alcohol duty which were to come into force now have been cancelled.

The hospitality industry is also one to benefit from a temporary reduction in business rates next year.

Not a single word was heard about VAT; evidently the appeals to retain the lower rate for hospitality have fallen upon deaf ears and amazingly there was nothing in it for pensioners, not even it appears an increase in personal allowance.

So if you found the budget hard to follow, don’t worry – you are not alone. Needless to say detail will gradually emerge as the press get to grips with the no doubt voluminous press releases from the Treasury!

Don’t count your chickens yet – it may be a while before you can be sure as to whether this budget will benefit you or not but if you like sparkling wine, cheaper bubbly is something to look forward to in 17 months or so.

Adrian Leopard     27-10-21

Photo Becky Fantham

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