Osborne hits the bottle: reduced beer tax and increased duty on wine

The chancellor’s decision to cut beer tax in this year’s budget, while at the same time increasing duty on wine, has been met with strong complaints from the wine industry.

Many of these critics cite a legal precedent, namely the 1978 ECJ case 170/78. In this case, the European Court of Justice agreed with the European Commission that a greater duty per unit of alcohol on wine than on beer amounted to a restriction on the free movement of goods within Europe. As a result, the UK government imposed the same duty per unit of alcohol on beer as it did on wine…

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