§ Dawn Primarolo
The forecast of hydrocarbon oil, alcohol and tobacco excise revenue for 1998–99 was revised up by £0.7 billion between July 1997 and March 1998.
Hydrocarbon oil duty receipts were revised up by £0.9 billion, reflecting the increases in duty rates announced in the 1998 Budget on 17 March 1998, Official Report, column 1110.
Alcohol and tobacco duty receipts were each revised down by £0.1 billion, reflecting the slightly lower than anticipated level of clearances in the second half of 1997–98. A number of factors are likely to have affected the 1997–98 outturn. An example of a factor that arose subsequent to the July 1997 forecast was the sharp decline in popularity of alcopops following their adverse publicity last year, which led to a decline in receipts in their duty category. Against this, GDP rose by more than was expected and the summer weather was warm, both of which are likely to have led to an increase in receipts. It is, however, difficult to be absolutely certain about the precise reasons for the small differences between forecast and actual receipts 1997–98 as a number of other largely counter-balancing factors are likely to have been involved.