Page last updated at 16:21 GMT, Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Rise in alcohol duty 'excessive'

Pints of beer
The treasury minister said extra alcohol duty will fund nursing care

Plans to increase duty on alcohol, tobacco and fuel in Jersey next year are excessive, a deputy has said.

The draft budget for 2010 suggests raising tax on spirits by 58p a litre, beer by 2p per pint, cigarettes by 38p a pack and vehicle fuel by nearly 10%.

Deputy Sean Power said those increases were not modest enough and would hit middle-earners hardest.

The government expects to earn an extra £4.25m next year by raising the import duty on alcohol, tobacco and fuel.

We should not tax middle Jersey because of the bad behaviour of a minority
Deputy Sean Power

In the draft budget the treasury minister said extra funds generated by the increasing alcohol duty would fund new initiatives for nursing and respite care.

But Mr Power said using the health department as an excuse to raise duty was unacceptable.

Most people in the island do not binge-drink and end up in hospital, he said.

"We should not tax middle Jersey because of the bad behaviour of a minority."

'Unacceptable increase'

Tobacco duty has more than doubled in the past decade.

But that increase did not significantly boost States revenue because "consumers looked for duty-free options instead", the deputy said.

Mr Power also wants to stop an increase of nearly 10% on fuel duty.

Transport costs already eat into the disposable income of islanders, he said.

"Now this assembly wants to push the cost of a litre of fuel to a figure whereby the minister for treasury and resources will take almost 60% of the price charged at the forecourt.

"This is unacceptable and there should be no increase in the rates of duty on fuel."

The 2010 budget is due to be debated in the States on 8 December.

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