Charity wants duty hike on white ciders

A leading homelessness charity has described the tax hike in superstrength lagers as a “wake-up call” for the industry, describing the products as more deadly than crack cocaine.

Thames Reach welcomed the 25p-a-can increase and said similar duty increases should be applied to white ciders.

The charity’s own research has found that superstrengths are responsible for more deaths among the homeless people it supports than either heroin or crack cocaine.

Chief executive Jeremy Swain said: “We welcome the move announced in the recent budget to push up the price of superstrength beers as we think it will encourage people to move away from the more expensive drinks towards weaker, cheaper lagers and ciders.

“Superstrength beers are a breed apart. Over 50 of the people we support have died in the past three years directly as a result of the terrible health problems brought about by these products.

“We hope that the rise in duty is a wake-up call for the drinks industry and that in future it will take seriously its corporate social responsibility obligations and move away from the superstrength beer market.

“We also want to see cheap white ciders treated in a different way from traditional ciders and not given the same tax breaks.”