A pledge from chancellor Rishi Sunak to overhaul alcohol duty as part of the autumn budget has been welcomed in Cumbria.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday, Mr Sunak said that he was going to ‘radically’ simplify alcohol duty by introducing a system designed around the principle of ‘the stronger the drink, the higher the rate’.

While increasing tax on stronger alcoholic drinks, Mr Sunak added many lower alcohol drinks are ‘currently overtaxed’, adding: “Rose, fruit ciders, liqueurs, lower strength beers and wines – today’s changes mean they will pay less.”

Workington MP Mark Jenkinson tweeted: “I know how important British pubs are for this country, and especially for the Workington constituency.

“I recently supported my parliamentary colleagues in a campaign to cut beer duty. I am pleased that the Government have done exactly that.”

Kerryanne Wilde, manager and licensee at the Beehive Inn in Penrith, suggested that a lowering of taxes would be welcome. “As a public house we have struggled to bounce back from being closed and all the restrictions placed on us as an eating venue," she said. "To put alcohol up would only place another nail in the coffin of businesses like ourselves.

“There is no funding or support for businesses anymore. But we will still have to pay rent, rates, staff wages and other overheads.”

Elsewhere in the budget, fuel duty was cut and there was a cut to business rates.

Trudy Harrison, Conservative MP for Copeland, said: “I am confident that the budget will deliver a stronger economy for Copeland and the UK.

“I believe the measures set out will strengthen our public finances, get debt falling and drive economic growth by investing in infrastructure, innovation and skills, while both supporting businesses to recover from the impacts of Covid-19 and incentivising them to invest.

“It also positively impacts Copeland residents and businesses directly. For example, there is a 6.6 percent (or £1,000 per year) raise for those on the National Living Wage, and a pay increase for public sector workers – all of which builds on the steps already taken to help people with the cost of living.

“For motorists, fuel duty is being frozen for the 12th year in a row. For businesses, we are cutting business rates by 50 per cent in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors next year, and freezing business rates for all.”

Paul Dickson, chief executive and managing partner of Carlisle-based business advisers Armstrong Watson, said: “For families and local businesses, overall this budget is a positive and more generous one than was expected.

“The extension to a number of reliefs, such as the continued extension of the annual investment allowance and extension of business rates cut for the hospitality and retail sector are welcome.”