The chancellor should scrap plans to hike alcohol taxes further in this year’s budget, says Ian Paisley.
The North Antrim MP threw his support behind the ‘Call Time On Duty’ campaign which is seeking an end of the Alcohol Duty Escalator and a freeze on alcohol duty in March’s Budget.
His call comes in support of export production requirements at The Bushmills distillery in his constituency.
He said: “The distillery employs over 100 highly trained staff and attracts more than 100,000 visitors to the North Coast every year. The constant increase on alcohol tax threatens to damage this industry and I will be doing everything in my power to preserve jobs in my constituency as well maintaining our prosperous tourism industry and the economic benefits that it brings with it to North Antrim.
He was speaking after independent research conducted by Ernst & Young found that scrapping the escalator would create 6,000 new jobs and boost public finances by £230 million in 2014-15.
The MP said: “There is now compelling evidence to support scrapping this unpopular super-tax in next month’s Budget. We know that getting rid of it would create jobs and help reduce the deficit by generating an extra £230 million for the public finances in the next year alone. I hope the Chancellor will show he is listening and be fair to businesses. Whilst I fully understand the need to control alcohol consumption we cannot do this solely by hiking taxes and damaging our local export business. We require a more grown up policy and one that is not based on public relations alone!”