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Public poll gives overwhelming support to cuts in duty in this week's Budget

Published:  17 March, 2014

Only 3% of the British public think alcoholic drinks are not too expensive in pubs and restaurants and unless more is done to cut duty levels they are likely to spend more time drinking at home.

The findings are the result of a poll of 2,000 UK adults ahead of this week's Budget by the Call Time On Duty campaign that is looking to galvanise public support for its call to see the duty escalator on wine and spirits frozen when the Chancellor announces his Budget on Wednesday.

The survey further demonstrates how intrinsic the pub sector is to the public with more than three quarters saying it was important for community spirit with 87% concerned the pub was already struggling whilst 79% called on the government to do more to protect the sector.

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association, one of the trade bodies behind the Call Time on Duty campaign, said: "These findings show that pubs, bars and restaurants are increasingly reliant on wine sales to boost their revenue. We are calling on the Chancellor to help save the British pub by scrapping his inflation-busting alcohol super tax in the upcoming Budget."

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance which is also backing the campaign to freeze the duty escalator, said: "The British public love to socialise. They love pubs and restaurants - catching up with friends and family and meeting new people. But they are being gradually priced out of this pleasure by ridiculous levels of tax on their drinks. That means both people and local small businesses are suffering.

"The government could address this in the Budget by scrapping the alcohol duty escalator once and for all and freezing duties. If not, further increases will have a devastating impact on pubs, clubs, restaurants and communities across the UK."