The Chancellor's main policy announcements had been leaked in advance, so will have been of little surprise. Here are the top-lines:
1. Air Passenger Duty rates for international short-haul flights will remain frozen in 2024-25. Domestic flights will go up by 50p and long-haul rates by £1.
2. Alcohol duty. Duty rates of all alcoholic products produced in, or imported into, the UK will increase in line with RPI. Draught Relief will increase from 5% to 9.2% for beer and cider draught products and from 20% to 23% for wine, spirits based and other fermented draught products. These changes will take effect from 1 August 2023. The Government say the draught relief will ensure that a typical pint of beer in the pub will always be lower than in the supermarket. BBPA point out: "...our industry will be facing an overall tax hike, not a reduction, come August. Duty on non-draught beer will rise and the measures introduced today won’t rebalance the catastrophic impact soaring inflation and unfair energy contracts are having on both pubs and the breweries that supply them."
3. DCMS departmental funding will fall from £2.0bn in 2022-23 to £1.5bn in 2023-4 and £1.4bn in 2024-5.
4. There was no movement on VAT-free shopping for international visitors which is a key policy to ensure we remain competitive against other countries.