An artisanally crafted blog curated by Cooking Lager for discerning readers of beer bloggery

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

What I think of the budget

A Budget response from a cooking lager enthusiast.

Following the recent none budget (there will be another one after the election) and in anticipation of the all the tedious “it’s a kick in the teeth to pubs” crap that I can expect to fill the blogosphere, I thought I’d offer my own views on Mr Darling’s grog price increase.

To rip off proper journalism at the beeb, the key points are

Cider duty to rise by 10% above inflation from midnight on Sunday.

Wine, beer and spirit duties to rise by 2% from midnight on Sunday and further 2% rise planned for two years from 2013.

Now it takes no reminder that alcohol duty is the same for both on and off trade. It is no more a kick in the teeth for pubs than supermarkets. The tax difference between on and off trade is in the VAT, and only different because pubs charge rip off prices. The higher the price, the higher the VAT. What with VAT being a percentage of price. Money grasping landlords that moan about their taxes have a simple route to paying less tax. Charge Wetherspoons prices and lower your VAT bill.

Cider has been comparatively taxed lower than beer, for no good reason, and increasing cider taxes is perfectly fair and above board.

The idea that small craft producers require tax breaks is nothing more than regressive tax nonsense from people that want taxes to be put on others but not themselves. Tax what I don’t buy and don’t tax what I do. Sod off, the country is bankrupt and you can expect to pay your share. If you don’t like it, don’t vote Labour. Vote Labour and you can expect the country to be left bankrupt, and to be left with the bill.

The economy is not best served by offering tax breaks to small inefficient production. Would we accept tax breaks on bespoke suits? Ought chav office workers like me pay a premium on a cheap off the peg whistle whilst my betters get a tax break on an expensive craft product from Saville Row? Ought drivers of industrial mass produced motor cars pay a tax premium whilst drivers of hand built craft TVR’s get a tax break? Calls for tax breaks on small scale craft production are regressive measures that benefit the well off at the expense of the less well off. It is immoral.

Though you might think that personally I don’t give a toss for craft cider makers as I have no intention of necking their nasty pong regardless of how cheap or expensive it is.

Now if you wanted to differentiate between craft and mass produced grog you could do so if there was a basic difference in ingredients. Cooking lager and craft ale are made of the same things. Craft cider is I believe made from apples, whilst cooking cider is made from high fructose corn syrup. You could tax fermented corn syrup at a different rate. That is you could if you are a middle class snob that thinks you ought to pay no more for your grog and all those nasty people on benefits ought to be taxed more for there’s.

You can claim no difference in regard to secondary fermentation, in tax law or any other law. It would be a competitive advantage to UK producers at the expense of our European cousins. Cask products are a regional anomaly of the UK market, which is no longer an independent country but a region of the EU. Moan about that if you want to moan, moan about never being asked. Personally I'm happy to be an EU citizen, and have little desire to be a subject of this crown or any other. My only gripe is that the freedom and democracy our American cousins assisted us in keeping appears to have been pissed away. I'd like the EU to have the same freedom and democracy as the Americans enjoy without the Americans having to give it to us like they did last time a jumped up German decided to build a European super state.

The country is bankrupt, taxes have gone up, moan about it and keep on drinking. Just spare me any crap about pubs going bust, being kicked in the teeth, and pubs being the centre of the community. I expect my cheap lout to remain cheap, maybe not as cheap, but still cheap. That is what matters.


Skin4Life said...

"He's sharp as nails and also a good financial planner, understands facts and figures with gentlemanly manner."


Working on getting some rock gut lout to festival.

Pigman said...

If you beleived everything you read in the beer blogosphere (read CAMRAlytes and that relic Mudgie) it all boils down to one thing.

Its the fault of the smoking ban.

It closes pubs, causes increased taxes, and fucks up the economy. Oh and its a safe and social past time! Please.........

Pubs close because nobody wants to drink in them, the economy is fucked because your banks are greedy fucker who can sell a £30 office chair with £50 owing on it for £3000 and soking causes cancer.

Top post Cookster

Sid Boggle said...

In next week's lecture, Dr. Lager will discuss The Death Of Post-Endogenous Growth Theory, lout-farming in the Black Country and the failure of Western Democracy.

Skin4Life said...

Come on Pigs, CAMRAlytes and Mudgie are lovely! Herr'man too, with his latest green beer episodes.

Anonymous said...

so beer might go up 20p a pint in a pub. If i drink 5 pints a night i'll have spent an extra £1. Thats hardly going to stop me going to the pub is it? the only real reason someone wont go to a particular pub is that its shit...

Barry said...

Thank you top economist Pigman. I'll sleep better knowing you are running the country.

Pigman said...

Your welcome Bazza. I have no need to run your country, but I do have an MBA and understand free market economies.

It's ok though, your economy will bounce back if the smoking ban is withdrawn.

Mark, said...

I tried to comment recently saying that pubs have way more problems than the smoking ban and a potential lowering of the drink drive limit to contend with. I felt like it fell on deaf ears. Too many local pubs are too shit. Smoking bans and taxes will probably kill them off but they aren't the only cause. That said, tax on beer in the UK is already comparatively high versus other countries. Is it that all alcohol drinkers are being punished for the UK's binge drinking problem? Is that a fair way to treat an industry that is about as grass roots as you can get - community pubs, local brewers. Yeah, multinationals and supermarkets are in it too, I'm sure they'll be able to absorb the inevitable price rises (I think they price in expectation of the budget, the beers in my local big 4 all seem to be priced at £1.87 or something equally easy to modify without anyone noticing).

On tax breaks I don't think it's as black and white as you suggest - tax breaks for local independent start ups is a useful way of improving cash flow and helping get new business off the ground. But I'm not an economist, I just know people who've used them successfully and certainly don't adopt an 'I want someone else to pay' attitude throughout their lives. I guess some people, as with everything, will take advantage.

Pigman said...

I think the analogy to a start up is a bit different to the beer industry which in institutionl and a major economic player. Sure craft beer is a small niche, but its part of a mature market overall.

The raise in tax and duty is an easy way to start to recoup the massive debts incurred with bailing out the banks. I'd rather pay 10p extra per pint than have my high street bank go under and loose all my money iSave style. While duty may be high, alcohol prices on a whole are a lot cheaper in the UK than they are in cmparative markets such as France, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

Mark, said...

Fair dos, and the beer industry has benefited from good rates for start ups already, along with many other small businesses. Of course I don't want to see my bank or building society go under either! A tax on the insurance the banks are offered by the government would be a better way to fund that though perhaps?

Sure, beer duty hits the industry fairly and squarely (in broad numbers) but if the reason for it is to fund cleaning up binge drinking is it somewhat misguided and will punish smaller companies and communities rather than those that provide the beer that fuels binging (unless of course it puts a huge brewery under and lots of jobs are lost, but not sure if that's likely as a direct result).

But I digress - I don't believe that Fosters (for example) causes binge drinking (hence my answers on the lager surveyI posted. The cure to binge drinking ain't tax.

I'm sure glad I'm not the man with the plan to fund all the debt and deficit the UK needs to clear, it sounds like a horrible job!!!

Cooking Lager said...

Fair play to the notion of encouraging business start ups, however most UK business start ups are not actual businesses. Most are little more than a vehicle for reducing tax on temporary employment. As I found out when I started one up.

Mark, said...

I guess some of my previous employers differ slightly (they're still going and pretty strong now) although I know where you're coming from. If only you could get tax relief and time of work for starting up a weblog eh?!