Beer and fuel duty are both tipped to be frozen in Wednesday’s Budget as Britain emerges from the Covid pandemic.
Reports claim the Chancellor will hold the rates as they are – and will instead plot a “stealth” tax raid on workers by freezing income tax allowances for three years.
Brits could also pay in other ways as Mr Sunak makes clear he must account for the £280bn cost of dealing with the pandemic.
Beer duty has been frozen or cut each year since 2013 while a freeze on fuel duty this year would be the 11th in a row. Other alcohol duties have risen in that time.
Last year raising beer duty – currently around 54p a pint – with inflation would have only added 1p to the cost of a pint in the pub.
But it would have helped the Treasury bring in an extra £300million or so per year into the future.
Fuel duty meanwhile has been frozen at around 58p a litre for a decade.
That has saved the average car driver a cumulative £1,200 each – but deprives the state of tens of billions of pounds.
Last year’s freeze alone left a hole in Treasury finances of more than half a billion pounds in each future year.
Reports claimed Mr Sunak had warned he would have to hike fuel duty by 5p per litre, but he later backed away from the idea.
The Chancellor today said he could not comment on tax policies ahead of a Budget, but hinted he backed a freeze or cut on beer.
Supermodel turned landlady Jodie Kidd has backed a cut in beer duty, saying: “A cut in beer duty will help pubs which are the backbone of local communities up and down the country.”
Asked if he backed her call for help, Mr Sunak told Times Radio: “For me it’s always been important to try and do what I can to support that industry. That’s why the grants today are really important.
“We have cut VAT from 20 per cent to 5 per cent temporarily for that industry. We’ve cancelled all their business rates over the past twelve months.
“It’s because I care about that industry and the people who work in it that I want to try and do what I can for those jobs. They should feel reassured that they remain uppermost in my mind and you will see what we’re going to do in a few days’ time.”
England’s lockdown roadmap allows pub beer gardens to reopen from April 12 at the earliest. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are all working on separate timetables to emerge from lockdown this Spring.