UK: The Wine and Spirit Trade Association’s (WSTA) new chairman has warned the Government over tax increases.
Chairman Tim How said that further tax increases on alcohol will force more wine and spirit businesses to cut back on jobs and investment.
The warning comes as the latest industry figures confirm falling sales in both on and off-trades as consumers rein in spending. Despite the decline, next week's Budget is scheduled to introduce a 2% above inflation alcohol tax escalator, announced by the Chancellor last year.
Speaking after his appointment as Chairman was confirmed at the WSTA annual general meeting today (16 April), Tim How said: "The last thing the industry and consumers need now is another tax increase which can only make matters worse in this difficult economic climate.
"I fear that further tax increases this year will lead to more cutbacks by businesses already struggling in the face of falling sales."
Tim How is the former chief executive of Majestic Wine. He takes over from Christopher Carson who has been WSTA Chairman since April 2006.
Christopher Carson said: "It's been a privilege to help build industry support for the WSTA in the face of growing public policy challenges in recent years. I am confident that Tim's experience in the business will continue to provide the industry with a strong voice."