As part of the Budget measures the Chancellor announced that the duty rates on beers, spirits and most ciders will be frozen at the current rates. These measures mean that a bottle of whisky will be £1.54 less and a pint of beer 14p less than if the rates had increased as expected based on the duty escalator.
However, the Chancellor did announce an RPI inflationary increase in the duty band for high strength sparkling cider known as ‘white ciders’ with alcohol levels above 5.5% from 1 February 2019. The price of wine will also increase by RPI inflation from the same date.
The duty rates on tobacco products were increased by 2% above the rate of inflation (based on RPI) effective from 6pm on 2 October 2018. The Chancellor also announced that the duty for hand-rolling tobacco will increase by an additional 1% (i.e. 3% above RPI) at the same time.