THE CHANCELLOR’S decision to slash beer duty by a penny had staff at Wearside’s Maxim Brewery burning the midnight oil.
Brewery boss Mark Anderson welcomed the move but said it had left staff with an uphill struggle to get paperwork ready in time.
“We are very pleased, though it does mean a lot of work just for a penny a pint,” he said.
“It involves quite a lot of paperwork and our customers, whether it is the pub trade or supermarkets and shops, will want it all processed by lunchtime.”
This is the third time Mr Osborne has cut duty, though Mark believes the move has basically brought it into line with inflation.
“Beer duty used to be on an escalator, so it was rising faster than inflation,” he said,
“This is the third time it has been cut but I think it has just brought it back to where it would have been otherwise.”
The Chancellor could have gone further in boosting Britain’s beer industry: “I would have liked to see him extend business relief for small brewers to help them export,” said Mark.
“Hopefully that will be in the fine detail when we get a look.”
The duty cut was not universally popular, however.
Colin Shevills, Director of North East alcohol office Balance said: “One North East child a day is admitted to hospital because of alcohol.
“Liver disease among under 35s has tripled in 10 years. Over half of violent crime is linked to alcohol. All of this is largely driven by cheap alcohol.
“The fact that the Chancellor chose to listen to the big alcohol companies and make alcohol even cheaper is staggering.
“This measure will make those products that end up in the hands of our children – cheap, strong beer, cider and vodka – even more affordable. And those who will pay the price will be our nurses, doctors, police officers and ambulance personnel.
“It’s time the Chancellor stopped listening to ‘big alcohol’ and started listening to the needs of our public services and did something to protect the most vulnerable people in our communities.”