BREWERS, beer drinkers and pubs were toasting a 1p cut in the price of a pint for the second year running.

But while early indications suggested the move could protect thousands of jobs and help keep struggling watering holes in business, it was also greeted with a mixed reaction in Hampshire.

Duty on spirits and ordinary cider has been frozen and beer duty cut by 1p per pint while the alcohol duty escalator is being scrapped.

Stewart Cross, landlord of the Platform Tavern in Southampton, said the move would give him some “breathing space”.

He added: “The same cut really made a difference last year – it is the only way forward for the pub trade.

“No landlord is going to take a penny off the price of a pint of beer, but the important thing is that it has not gone up.

“It gives me a bit of breathing space.”

But Anthony Robertson, food and beverage controller of Hampshire-based Ideal Collection, which runs five pubs and restaurants across the county, said: “1p in a pint does not make a massive difference when everything else is going up with inflation.

“Supplier costs are still going up year on year and minimum wage is going up as well.

“This is good in the long-term but the real cost for us is going up every year.”

Meanwhile, tobacco duty is to rise by two per cent above inflation.