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Drinks trade hits back at Tory plans

Published:  23 July, 2008

The drinks trade has called Tory plans to raise 400 million from higher taxes on alcohol "flawed and nave".

A Conservative Party policy group, led by former leader Iain Duncan Smith, will unveil plans to add 7p to the cost of a pint, 15p to a bottle of wine and 25p to a bottle of spirits.

Its report Breakthrough Britain claims the extra tax would reduce tackle binge drinking and tackle alcohol and drug abuse.

However, Mike Benner, chief executive of the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), responded: "The proposal made are as flawed as they are nave." He continued; "A beer tax increase of 10% will lead people to buying alcohol at supermarkets where beer is irresponsible used as a loss leader. This proposal simply punishes the responsible majority who like to relax with a drink or two in their local pub."

Michael Thompson, head of communications at industry watchdog The Portman Group, said: "Increasing the price of alcohol would not necessarily deter heavy drinkers. In Scandinavia alcohol is more expensive than here yet they suffer similar drinking problems. The opposite happens in France and Spain where alcohol is cheaper but they drink sensibly.We need to change the drinking culture through better education."