Excise duties on alcohol should be lowered and those on spirits should be cut most of all, says St Andrews economist Dr Paul Haines. The report examines and challenges Treasury assumptions concerning the way in which consumption of alcohol reacts to price changes. Alcohol consumption doesn't rise indefinitely with increases in prosperity, and attempts to curb alcohol consumption by increases in excise duties will probably fail. Not only that but further increases only lead to an increase in smuggling. The recent rises relate to losses in the Treasury revenue whereas a freeze or reduction to more revenue. Dr Haines proposes a duty of £10 per litre of pure alcohol, an abolishment of the duty and VAT on Commonwealth importation of alcohol. We should have lower duties and equal duties.
Read the full paper here.