Kwasi Kwarteng has scrapped planned hikes in alcohol duty in his mini-budget, adding it is part of a “drive to modernise”. The Chancellor told the House of Commons: “Our drive to modernise also extends to alcohol duties. I have listened to industry concerns about the ongoing reforms. I will therefore introduce an 18-month transitional measure for wine duty. I will also extend draught relief to cover smaller kegs of 20 litres and above, to help smaller breweries. And, at this difficult time, we are not going to let alcohol duty rates rise in line with RPI.
“So I can announce that the planned increases in the duty rates for beer, for cider, for wine, and for spirits will all be cancelled.”
Mr Kwarteng also announced in his statement to parliament that VAT-free shopping would be introduced for overseas visitors.
The Chancellor announced he would scrap the country’s higher rate of income tax and cut the basic rate from April 2023.
Mr Kwarteng said from next April, the UK will have a single higher rate of income tax of 40 percent, while the rate of income tax to 19 pence in the same month – one year earlier than expected.
The Chancellor confirmed a cut in stamp duty, telling the House of Commons: “Home ownership is the most common route for people to own an asset, giving them a stake in the success of our economy and society.
“So, to support growth, increase confidence and help families aspiring to own their own home, I can announce that we are cutting stamp duty.
“In the current system, there is no stamp duty to pay on the first £125,000 of a property’s value. We are doubling that – to £250,000.”
In a boost for first-time buyers, he also announced the stamp duty threshold for them would be increased from £300,000 to £425,000.
Mr Kwarteng added: “We’re going to increase the value of the property on which first-time buyers can claim relief, from £500,000 to £625,000.
“The steps we’ve taken today mean 200,000 more people will be taken out of paying stamp duty altogether. This is a permanent cut to stamp duty, effective from today.”
But Mr Kwarteng also revealed the two-year energy bills bailout could cost an eye-watering £60 billion over the first six months from next month.
He told parliament: “The estimated costs of our energy plans are particularly uncertain given volatile energy prices, but based on recent prices, the total cost of the energy package for the six months from October is expected to be around 60 billion pounds.”
“We expect the cost to come down as we negotiate new, long term energy contracts with suppliers.”
THIS IS A BREAKING STORY. MORE TO FOLLOW…