France plans tax on strong spirits

France plans tax on strong spirits

The French Spirits Federation (FFS) has hit out at government plans to raise tax on alcoholic drinks above 40% abv from January.

The tax hike would lead to an increase in retail prices of around EUR0.90 per litre bottle and bolster state finances by an estimated EUR340m (US$459m) annually. "This is a stigmatising and penalising measure for the spirits sector and an ineffective one too," the FFS said late last week.

The government has justified the hike on public health grounds, but the FFS claims its sole aim is to raise revenue. "At this time of economic crisis and state deficits, it should not be the spirits sector alone that's called upon to make an effort," said the FFS. "It's quite simply discriminatory and not for the first time."

Wines and beers have been excluded from the tax increases, which will next month be debated in the French Assembly.