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Tory's tax solution to binge-drinking.

A TORY government would treble the taxonalcopops in a bid to cut teenage binge-drinking, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne will announce today.

The party will also increase taxes on what it calls "problem drinks" including strong cider and strong beer. But drinks with a low alcohol content would see their duty levels cut, while wine, spirits and 90%of beer and cider would be unaffected - meaning the overall package would raise the same amount for the Exchequer.

Mr Osborne said the measures would "target younger drinkers" and could cut consumption of alcopops in half.

He said, "All the conversations I have had over the past year with police officers, supermarkets and those whose lives are made miserable by the behaviour of binge drinkers have convinced me that we need to take targeted action against the super-strength drinks and alcopops favoured by young drinkers.

"This package...does not hit the vast majority of law-abiding, responsible drinkers. Instead we are making it much more expensive to buy super-strength lagers, ciders and alcopops, and using the extra revenue to cut taxes on low alcohol drinks."

The Tory plans come ahead of Chancellor Alistair Darling's first budget on Wednesday. A source at the Treasury said Mr Osborne's ideas were regarded there as a "gimmick".

Mr Osborne's proposals would see tax on bottles of WKD, Bacardi Breezers and Smirnoff Ice go up 50p, while a three-litre bottle of Diamond White cider would be pounds 1.25p more expensive. A pint of beer with under 2.5%ABVwould be 8p cheaper under the scheme.
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Mar 7, 2008
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