WSTA chief hails decision to freeze UK alcohol duty

22 November, 2017

Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association has praised the decision made by chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond to freeze UK wine and spirits duty.

Hammond addressed the issue during his second budget announcement for 2017 at Westminster on 22 November.

“We are pleased that the chancellor has found his festive spirit and listened to the call from the WSTA and its members and has frozen wine and spirit duty,” said Beale.

“He has shown the government is in touch with what consumers want and is supporting an industry which is proving to be a real asset to British business.

Government policy states that alcohol duty will increase by RPI inflation each year for the full term of this parliament, which in 2018 was projected to be 3.4%.

However this freeze in duty increase will prevent the duty of wine and spirits in the UK rising in the lead up to Christmas.

Beale added: “He (chancellor) has recognised that rebalancing the UK’s excessive duty rates is a win/win for both the Treasury and the wine and spirit trade – not to mention consumers. This decision will be celebrated by millions who will raise a glass this festive season.”

An increase of 3.4% would have meant consumers would pay another 7p per bottle of wine and 27p per bottle of spirit on top of the 8p and 30p respectively extra from the March Budget. The industry as a whole would have been hit with more than £300m in new duty liabilities.

Now that the chancellor has responded positively to the WSTA’s request to freeze inflation until January, the organisation wants a review of the policy of automatic indexation of wine and spirits duty.

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