The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has teamed up with 24 of the UK’s top gin distillers to write to Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond, raising serious concerns over a planned increase to spirits duty at the Budget this month.
The WSTA said that it wants Hammond to honour the comments once made by Theresa May, who said that the Conservatives were “a party that believes in business”.
“Government has vowed to back British business. Well, you can’t get much more British than gin! After breaking the £2 billion-mark British gin has proved itself to be just the tonic for the Government’s ambitions to grow exports of premium British products,” Miles Beale said, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association.
“The gin boom in the UK has allowed our talented and innovative British distillers to invest and grow their businesses creating new jobs and boosting the British economy.”
The WSTA said that if Hammond were to raise duty any further, gin makers in the UK could take a hit of over £16 million.
The planned 3.4% duty rise would add another 26p on a bottle of spirits. According to the WSTA, 75% of an average priced bottle of spirits goes straight to the taxman.
Breaking The Record Breaker
A further tax increase will stifle the growth of young spirit makers, who have driven the gin renaissance and broke records both at home and abroad.
The gin market has doubled in value over the last five years, recently surpassing the £2 billion mark. The latest HMRC figures showing 315 distilleries are currently operational, with 49 openings in the last year.
“However, if the Chancellor does not freeze alcohol duty he will be stifling the spirits industry," Beale added.
"British gin is a global phenomenon which is why we are asking the Chancellor why he is penalising what Britain does best? By freezing spirit duty, he would be allowing industry to invest, create jobs and grow while at the same time boost Treasury coffers."
The WSTA highlighted that in November, when the Chancellor put a freeze on alcohol duty, the industry received an extra £380 million between February and August, a 6% increase on the same period the year before.
However, in the last 12 months, the gin industry has paid over £750 million in duty and VAT. The WSTA revealed that if the planned duty rise goes through, gin duties could cost UK distilleries the equivalent over £50,000 each next year.
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Aidan O'Sullivan. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.