ANALYSIS: Dry January could save taxpayers £1 billion in booze duties

Embargoed: 00:01 Sunday 2 January 2022


  • TPA analysis highlights the significant tax burden faced by consumers and businesses

  • The hospitality industry has been hammered and deserves customer support in the coming months


As some Brits begin to give up alcohol for Dry January, the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has revealed the burden of alcohol taxes on households facing a cost of living crisis. Analysis shows that simply giving up alcohol for one month would save drinkers over £1 billion in duties.

The hospitality industry is in dire straits after almost two years of restrictions, so while people are conscious of their health as they start the new year it's vital that pubs, clubs and restaurants get the support they deserve.

But the tax burden on businesses and consumers is significant. TPA figures reveal that the average household spends more than £460 in alcohol duties alone each year. The campaign group previously found that almost one third of the price of a pint is tax.

Analysis of ONS data shows that before the pandemic, the average household spent over £480 on alcohol for consumption at home, and over £430 on alcohol in hospitality venues.

The poorest households pay almost 57 per cent of their income in tax, the highest proportion of any group. With supply chain issues causing supermarket bills to rise and a looming cost of living crisis, the TaxPayers’ Alliance is calling on the government to cut taxes to ease the burden on hardworking Brits.


Key findings:

  • For 2021-22, the annual total cost of alcohol duties forecast is £12.819 billion.

  • The forecast cost of alcohol duties for each month of 2021-22 is £1.068 billion.

  • The average cost of alcohol duties for each household is £461.25 in 2021-22.

  • The average household spent £483.60 on alcohol (brought home), and £431.60 on alcohol (away from home) in 2019-20.


John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said:

“These figures show how ludicrously high alcohol taxes have left Brits shortchanged.

"Taxpayers and the hospitality industry are crying out for politicians to ease the squeeze on their wallets this year.

“Ministers must sober up to the cost of living crisis and cut taxes for hard-hit households and businesses.”


TPA spokespeople are available for live and pre-recorded broadcast interviews via 07795 084 113 (no texts)


Media contact:

Danielle Boxall
Media Campaign Manager, TaxPayers' Alliance
[email protected]
24-hour media hotline: 07795 084 113 (no texts)


Notes to editors:

  1. Founded in 2004 by Matthew Elliott and Andrew Allum, the TaxPayers' Alliance (TPA) campaigns to reform taxes and public services, cut waste and speak up for British taxpayers. Find out more at

  2. TaxPayers' Alliance's advisory council.

  3. TaxPayers’ Alliance research found that almost one third of the price of a pint is paid in tax.

  4. TaxPayers’ Alliance research has shown the poorest households already pay over half their income in tax.

  5. Office for Budget Responsibility annual alcohol duties receipts can be found here.

  6. Office for National Statistics data on households can be found here.

  7. Office for National Statistics data on household expenditure 2019-20 can be found here.
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