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UK Policy
Tackling Scotland's Alcohol Problem

UK Policy




On 27 October 2021, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined the Government’s new alcohol duty system, which will be implemented in 2023. The new duty system will see alcoholic drinks taxed based on their strength, so the stronger the alcohol, the stronger the tax.


The Chancellor's five-point plan for alcohol duty reform:

  • The number of alcohol duty systems is reduced from 15 to 6 and the guiding principal will be that the stronger the drink, the higher the price.
  • The 'Small Producer Relief' will extend the principle of the 'Small Brewers Relief' to small cidermakers and other producers making alcoholic drinks of less than 8.5% ABV.
  • The alcohol duty system will be modernised to reflect the way that people drink today by cutting “irrational” duties on sparkling wine and cider.
  • The 'Draught Relief' will be introduced to help support pubs by applying a lower rate of duty on draught beer and cider. 'Draught Relief' will cut duty by 5%.
  • The planned increase in duty on spirits like Scotch Whisky, wine, cider and beer, is cancelled. This is a tax cut worth £3bn. 


Drink drive limits

At present the legal alcohol limit for driving in the UK is 80 milligrams (mg) of alcohol per 100ml of blood, which equates to 35 micrograms (mcg) of alcohol per 100ml of breath. For most other countries in the EU, including Scotland since December 2014, the legal limit is 50mg.


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