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.