Tories call for 'alcopops tax'

Tories plan tax on super-strength beer
Tories plan tax on super-strength beer

Alcoholic drinks favoured by "yobbish" drinkers would be made more expensive under a Conservative government, while prices would be dropped on lower strength beers and ciders.

The Conservatives want to raise alcohol duties on super-strength beer, cider and alcopops in a bid to tackle binge drinking.

The so-called 'alcopops tax' would see the price of an average bottle rise by 50p.

Shadow Chancellor George Osborne told the BBC: "These drinks are targeted primarily at young women. They disguise the taste of alcohol by putting very sweet mixtures in so they taste like lemonade.

"Let's make the price of that very difficult for people and then use all the money to cut the taxes on the low-alcohol products.

"They've done this kind of thing in Germany and Australia and it has had dramatic effects."

But to avoid penalising "sensible drinkers", duties would be frozen on spirits, wine and 90 per cent of beers and ciders, including designer brands such as Magners, Guinness and Stella Artois.

The Conservatives will lay out the plans in more detail later. The strategy comes less than a week before the Budget, in which the chancellor is already expected to raise alcohol duties.

The Treasury warns, however, that it would be impossible under European law to pinpoint tax hikes at specific brands, and points out sales of alcopops are falling.

The Conservatives, however, claim Labour has made "problem drinks" more affordable and stratified tax rises are necessary to deter binge drinkers.


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