Sin taxes: Blow to roll-your-own smokers


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Indy Politics

The "price of vice" is to rise further as George Osborne looks to the familiar targets of smokers and drinkers to increase revenues. Particularly hard hit will be those who've looked to save money by rolling their own cigarettes – or buying cheaper brands. A 25g pouch of hand-rolling tobacco will rise by 10 per cent, taking a pouch to about £7.33. The price of the best-selling budget cigarettes will rise by around 50p per pack. In contrast, the price of a packet of 20 "premium" cigarettes, such as Malboro Gold, will rise by less. This is because Mr Osborne has increased the "per pack" and "per kilo" tax on cigarettes significantly, while at the same time cutting the percentage of tax which is paid proportionate to the price of the pack.

The move is a deliberate attempt by the Chancellor to incentivise lower income smokers to quit. Overall, tobacco duty will rise an average by 2 per cent above inflation. No changes were made to alcohol duty – but a pint of beer is set to rise by up to 10p, because of changes already announced. This is because in the last Budget the Chancellor announced a tax escalator that automatically increases tax on alcohol by 2 per cent above inflation every year. So this year there will be a 7.2 per cent increase on wines, spirits and beers.

Beer tax has now increased by more than a third since 2008, taking the average price of a pint of real ale to £2.84, and £3.02 for a pint of lager.

Consumers will pay 15p more for a bottle of wine and 54p more for a bottle of spirits from Monday.