1999 Budget Excise Duties – Brown accused of political cynicism

The Chancellor of the Exchequer decision to freeze excise
duties on alcohol while raising them on tobacco is an exercise in
political cynicism, the IAS said.

If the problem of smuggling is not to be allowed to undermine
health policy on tobacco, as the Chancellor asserted, then why is it to
be allowed to undermine health policy on alcohol? The argument is
exactly the same.

This is further evidence, the IAS said, that the Government
has been nobbled by the alcohol industry. The Chancellor’s decision,
along with other Government proposals bodes ill for the national
strategy to reduce alcohol misuse that it is supposed to be drawing up.
While having little, if any, effect on smuggling. Gordon Brown’s
decision indicates that the Government has no serious intention of
tackling alcohol misuse. Indeed, it seems set on encouraging it.