Criticism for 'Failure to Reform' Budget

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Byline: By DAVID WILLIAMSON Western Mail

Phillip lay, retail director at brewer SA Brain & Co, was in low spirits about the Budget. He said, 'We are disappointed Gordon Brown has once again looked to beer to raise revenue. Beer drinkers have endured too many tax increases in recent years and will again be faced with a more expensive pint.

'It might only be a rise with inflation but it is still the customers' pockets he is hitting. On another disappointing note, it's a shame to see that no plans have been put forward to support the beer industry through the myriad changes associated with the new smoking laws.

'However, we do welcome the freeze in duty on champagne and spirits, although this will only benefit a small group of customers. The beer-drinking majority of our customers will be left to foot a higher tax bill at the bar.

'Despite a four pence rise in tax on wine, we are still seeing a gap between the tax on beer and the tax on wine. The Chancellor is favouring a lower tax rate for wine and that is also putting extra pressure on the beer industry.'

Patrick Minford of Cardiff Business School said the child trust funds policy was 'idiotic'. He was worried about growth forecasts.

Mr Minford said, 'He's pretty optimistic about growth but that looks unlikely, mainly because productivity is so bad. …