The Daily Mail reports today that Cameron’s minimum pricing plans are now effectively dead in the water following a Cabinet revolt.
One minister said such a rise would be ‘inconceivable’ when cost of living is expected to be an issue at the next election. The minister added: ‘It would be political suicide and it will have to be abandoned.’Funny that, exactly the same was reported back in December. The plan was never going to get off the ground anyway because it is almost certainly illegal under European competition law, so this is just more softening up prior to the inevitable climbdown.
But it doesn’t look too good for abandoning the duty escalator, as scrapping both policies in the same month would really have the anti-drink lobby foaming at the mouth. And there must be a strong chance that some further nasty on alcohol duties will be sneaked into the Budget, such as raising the rate of High Strength Beer Duty or extending its scope.