Wine and spirits industry slams UK Budget

20 March, 2013

The wine and spirits industry has blasted the UK Chancellor’s “inflation busting tax hikes on wines and spirits”.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has condemned the Chancellor for pushing ahead with alcohol tax rises on wines and spirits for the fifth year in a row, through the alcohol duty escalator.

The escalator, which has increased taxation by 2% above RPI inflation each year since 2008, will add another 10p to a bottle of wine and 53p to a litre bottle of spirits after the 5.3% rise announced today.

The latest rise means that consumers will have seen wine duty increase by 50% and spirits duty by 44% since the escalator was introduced in 2008 putting an additional 67p on a bottle of wine and £2.38 on a 70cl bottle of vodka.

Wine and Spirit Trade Association chief executive Miles Beale said: "This is bad news for the UK wine and spirits sector, with year on year duty increases hitting consumers and businesses hard. It makes little sense to single out beer, particularly as there is a legal precedent to suggest Government is unable to do so.

“If this was designed as a measure to support pubs it seems misplaced: over 41% of drinks sold in pubs are wine and spirits, contributing £9.4 billion per year. The Chancellor’s decision ignores the growing value of the English wine industry and the UK spirits industry, which accounts for 18% of all jobs in the EU spirits industry.”

Global drinks giant Diageo also expressed disappointment.

A Diageo spokesperson said: “This move is disappointing. Cutting duty on beer while increasing it on spirits punishes the UK spirits industry for its success in this harsh economic climate. Scotch is the UK’s biggest food and drink export. This move risks that success.”





Comment

Dominic Roskrow

The serious business of bourbon

This is most odd. I’m standing with two American gentlemen in the corner of a very swish steak bar staring at a surreal painting of what we’re being told is a ship exploding as it sails towards a lighthouse. I think.

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