Support for booze tax cut slumps

A majority of Swedes wants the tax on beer and wine reduced - but they are not so concerned about the tax on spirits. That is the conclusion of a survey carried out by Temo Synovate on behalf of the Swedish Brewers' Association.

Just over 50% of those questioned said beer and wine taxes should be cut, but only 40% said they would like to see the tax on spirits fall.

When forced to choose between different tax cuts the difference in attitudes towards the various tipples becomes even clearer. Then, 40% say they want a cut in wine tax and 30% call for tax on beer to be reduced. But only 17% would choose a cut in the tax on spirits.

When the government’s own ‘alcohol investigator’ Kent Härstedt controversially proposed a reduction of alcohol tax by 40 per cent in the summer of 2004, it appeared to be backed by considerable support among the Swedish population.

Then, two in three Swedes said they wanted a cut in the tax on spirits.

But the different results are not directly comparable, said Arne Modig, who carried out the survey at Temo.

“What we can say is that the interest in reducing the tax on spirits has declined. The response shows that there is an ongoing debate in this area,” he said.

The Social Democrats have so far prioritised a cut in the spirits tax but has had its plans blocked by opposition from within their own party as well as from the Left Party and the Greens.