United Kingdom

Budget 2021: Rishi Sunak freezes alcohol and fuel tax in boost for Covid-weary UK

Rishi Sunak handed Covid-weary Brits a boost today as he froze tax on booze and fuel.

The Chancellor cancelled planned increases in duty on beer, cider, wine and spirits for the second year in a row in today's Budget.

The amount of tax on a tankful of petrol and diesel will also remain the same for the 10th year in a row.

The moves came after a year in which many pubs and restaurants have been forced to remain shuttered and the majority of Britons have been working from home.

But smokers will have to cough up more for tobacco, as the price will rise in line with inflation as expected this evening. 

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: 'The Chancellor has listened to the concerns of the hospitality sector. Details are yet to be pored over but it looks like crucial support will help businesses at a critical time.

'The Chancellor has announced support to help our sector get back up and running, now it is vital that the Government sticks to its date of June 21st for a full reopening of the sector. 

'Delay would see more businesses fail, more jobs lost and undo much of the good work the Chancellor has done to date.'  

The Chancellor cancelled planed increases in duty on beer, cider, wine and spirits for the second year in a row in today's Budget

The moves came after a year in which many pubs and restaurants have been forced to remain shuttered and the majority of Britons have been working from home.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: 'The Chancellor has listened to the concerns of the hospitality sector. Details are yet to be pored over but it looks like crucial support will help businesses at a critical time'

Craig Mackinlay, the Tory MP for South Thanet and chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Fair Fuel: 'The continued freeze on fuel duty is absolutely the right decision and one that will be welcomed by hard-pressed motorists and hauliers up and down the country. 

'The electorate resoundingly rejects the green lobby's unpopular policies at repeated elections. The Chancellor is quite right to dismiss their call for an increase in fuel duty too.'  

Howard Cox, the founder of FairFuelUK, said: 'It would be churlish, not to thank the Chancellor and the Prime Minister for maintaining the freeze in Fuel Duty for a tenth successive year. 

'It has been a tortuous campaigning journey convincing the Treasury year after year that this fiscal policy has positively benefitted the economy.

'Motorists, van drivers and truckers across the UK will be pleased at this protracted decision from the Chancellor. 

'They will hope this is just the start of more pro motoring policies, which have been sadly lacking in this Parliament.' 

Addressing the Commons today, Mr Sunak said: ''All alcohol duties frozen for the second year in a row - only the third time in two decades.

'And right now, to keep the cost of living low, I'm not prepared to increase the cost of a tank of fuel. So the planned increase in fuel duty is also cancelled.'

In another boost for the beleaguered hospitality industry today, Mr Sunak unveiled a new 'restart grant' from April to help businesses reopen.

He told MPs: 'Non-essential retail businesses will open first, so they'll receive grants of up to £6,000 per premises.

'Hospitality and leisure businesses, including personal care and gyms, will open later, or be more impacted by restrictions when they do, so we'll give them grants of up to £18,000.

'That's £5 billion of new grants, on top of the £20 billion we've already provided.'

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