Spring Budget 2024 – Alcohol and Tobacco Duty

As part of the Spring Budget measures, the Chancellor announced that the duty rates on beer, cider, wine and spirits would be frozen at the current rates from 1 August 2024 until 1 February 2025. This is an extension to the previous alcohol duty freeze announced in last year’s Autumn Statement that took effect on 1 February 2024 and was scheduled to last for 6 months until 1 August 2024. The Chancellor said this move will benefit some 38,000 pubs across the UK.

It was also announced as part of the Spring Budget that the government will introduce legislation in a future finance bill to introduce a new duty on vaping products. The government has published a consultation on the detailed design and implementation of the duty. The consultation will close on 29 May 2024.

Registration for the duty will open on 1 April 2026 with the duty taking effect from 1 October 2026 alongside a proportionate increase in tobacco duties.

The duty will apply to liquids for use in vaping devices and e-cigarettes at the following rates:

  • £1 per 10ml for nicotine free liquids
  • £2 per 10ml for liquid containing nicotine at concentrations between 0.1 to 10.9mg per ml
  • £3 per 10ml for liquids containing nicotine at concentrations 11mg per ml, or above

The government will also make a one-off tobacco duty increase of £2 per 100 cigarettes or 50 grams of tobacco from 1 October 2026.

No further changes to the duty rates on tobacco products were announced.

Source:HM Treasury | 05-03-2024

Taking goods temporarily out of Great Britain

There are special rules that must be followed when goods are taken temporarily outside of Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). As a general rule, when goods are moved, they must be declared, and any duty owed must be paid.

You can usually claim relief from UK import duties where goods are being moved temporarily, for example, to a trade show or an event. This is called Returned Goods Relief (RGR). If RGR is available, then no import duties will be payable when the goods are returned to Great Britain.

Examples of items you might move temporarily are:

  • music equipment, such as portable instruments;
  • film and sound equipment, such as cameras;
  • education or science equipment;
  • sports equipment; or
  • samples for trade fairs.

Before you travel, you’ll need to:

  • check if you can claim relief from import duty when you return;
  • decide how you want to declare your goods; or
  • check if you need an export licence for your goods.

It is important to note that RGR only gives relief from Great Britain’s import duties. The rules regarding how you declare goods and claim relief from import duty are different in other countries.

There are different rules if you move goods temporarily between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.

Source:HM Revenue & Customs| 04-09-2023

Spring Budget 2023 – Alcohol and Tobacco Duty

As part of the Budget measures the Chancellor confirmed that the duty rates on beers, spirits, wines and ciders will increase in line with the retail price index (RPI). These rates will increase from 1 August 2023.

The Chancellor did announce some help for the hospitality industry by increasing the Draught Relief duty differential from 5% to 9.2% for qualifying beer and cider products and from 20% to 23% for qualifying wine, other fermented products (previously made wine) and spirits.

These changes will also take effect from 1 August 2023 and mean that individuals who drink draught products in on-trade venues (such as pubs) will pay less tax than on the equivalent non-draught product in off-trade venues (such as supermarkets).

There will also be changes to help reform the current duty system from 1 August 2023. This will result in the creation of standardised tax bands based on alcohol by volume. The government will also introduce two new reliefs and transitional arrangements for certain wine products.

The rates of duty on tobacco products were increased by 2% above the rate of inflation (based on RPI) effective from 6pm on 15 March 2023. The rates of duty for hand-rolling tobacco increased by 6% above RPI and the Minimum Excise Tax (MET) by 3% above RPI at the same time. The government is committed to maintaining high tobacco duty rates as a tool to reduce smoking.

Source:HM Treasury| 15-03-2023