Pints slashed, fag tax hiked in ‘honesty’ Budget to revive pubs and High Street

Pubs and High Street shops hang in the balance as Rishi Sunak reveals his "support, vision, recovery, honesty" Budget.

The Chancellor will set out Britain's economic recovery plan out of the pandemic at 12.30pm on Wednesday.

Tobacco tax is expected to increase, pushing up the price of a packet of cigarettes. This tax increase would bring in £30million, according to estimates published by HMRC.

He will unveil measures to allow pubs, restaurants and non-essential businesses up to £6,000 "restart grants" per premises.

The cost of a pint of beer could also be slashed to get us all going out again after lockdown with supermarkets stumping up the difference, although campaigners say singling out beer could alienate women who tend to prefer wine.

A boost for the White Van Man is expected after plans to increase fuel duty were scrapped for the tenth year, the Mirror reports.

An extension to the self-employment support scheme and other measures including VAT cuts are also tipped to appear.

The Treasury estimates 230,000 businesses in hospitality and leisure will be eligible for a £18,000 version of restart grants.

And apprenticeships are set to get a £126m boost, creating 40,000 traineeships in England.

The furlough scheme is set to be extended until September – covering 80 per cent of wages for those put on leave due to the pandemic until the end of June, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

The £5bn support package drops the payments to 70 per cent in July, 60 per cent in August and September, with firms paying the difference to 80 per cent.

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Plans for employers to claim £3,000 for taking on an apprentice with plans for "flexi-job" apprenticeships are also expected.

A £520million Help to Grow fund to support small businesses with training and software is set to also help 130,000 small and medium enterprises.

Mr Sunak has set out to be "honest" about UK will recover £280bn of Covid spending amid a hike in corporation tax and income tax allowances frozen.

A return of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme has not been ruled out and Sunak has been urged to announce a NHS pay rise to avoid an "exodus" of nurses after the pandemic.

Campaigners have told the Daily Star that only slashing prices on beer to rejuvenate the nation's pub scene could "alienate" booze-loving women.

A YouGov survey for Wine Drinkers UK found 43% of women drinkers listed wine as their favourite alcoholic drink with only 7% listing beer.

Wine writer and broadcaster, Helena Nicklin told us: “I enjoy popping to the pub for a drink just as much as my male counterparts, as do my female friends and it's crazy to think that when you drill down, we generally end up paying more for our drinks.

"The unavoidable fact is that women are more likely to drink wine, so if the Chancellor Rishi Sunak increases wine duty, he risks alienating female voters as women will unfairly have to continue to pay more for their tipple.”

Television celebrity Kate Thornton added: "Surely wine should be treated the same way as beer and spirits when it comes to tax?

"I’m baffled as to why it is singled out as an outlier that is open to higher taxes."

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