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Hospitality industry ‘ignored’ in debate about alcohol duty

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PUBS and bars are facing a ‘double whammy’ of alcohol tax hikes and recruitment issues with the States ‘not considering’ the consequences of their decisions on the industry, the Jersey Hospitality Association has said.

Simon Soar

During the Government Plan debate, which was due to continue this week, Members rejected the opportunity to impose only inflation-level rises on alcohol duty.

Instead, should the plan be approved, the price of alcohol will increase significantly with spirits due to rise by 14%, which will make Jersey’s prices among the highest in Europe.

JHA chief executive Simon Soar said the Assembly had ‘ignored’ a presentation he had given to Members regarding the potentially dire impact of the price rises on the industry.

And he refused to rule out pubs and bars having to close as a result, although he admitted that it was ‘too early to tell’.

He said: ‘We did a presentation about the impact it would have along with other things that are also happening. It doesn’t seem that that advice has been heeded. The impact has not been properly considered.

‘I suppose there is a level of disappointment that it isn’t at the forefront with the political powers, and it seems like hospitality is being pushed down the ranking and not being considered. Fourteen per cent will go on spirits, which makes Jersey nearly the second most expensive country in Europe for spirits, and that is massive.’

He added that big price hikes would only drive up the cost of living.

‘It is too early to say whether pubs will close their doors but there is the double whammy of the recruitment issues at the moment as well.’

The strongest wines, beers and ciders are due to go up 12%. A bottle of spirits with a proof of 40% or above will rise by £2.08, with standard-strength beer and cider going up 1p and stronger-proof products rising by 8p.

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