UK's WSTA Calls On Chancellor To Freeze Alcohol Duty In Budget
The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has called on the UK government to freeze alcohol duty in the forthcoming Budget, saying that similar measures last year helped boost the drinks industry.
In the six months following the decision to freeze alcohol duty last November, the UK Treasury made £270 million more in alcohol duty, which was a 5% increase on the previous year, the WSTA said.
Of this, 61% was generated by wine and spirits sales (£165 million).
While duty hikes were proposed in the last Budget announcement, UK Chancellor Philip Hammond cited tighter household budgets and declining pub sales as reasons behind the decision to maintain duty at the same rate.
The WSTA is calling on the Chancellor to adopt a similar approach this year.
“A freeze to alcohol duty is a win/win/win for the Treasury, the wine and spirit trade and consumers - our Budget submission makes this case clearly to the Chancellor," said Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association.
"Philip Hammond chose to freeze alcohol duty in November for good reason, as he rightly recognised that consumers are feeling financial strain, and acknowledged the need to show support to our great British pubs. His strategy was a sound one and he landed a windfall for government coffers too."
The WSTA pointed out that at current duty rates, 55% of the average price of a bottle of wine and 74% of a bottle of spirits is now accounted for by tax and VAT. It added that with Brexit on the horizon, a freeze is necessary to ensure the continued health of the industry.
“With Brexit looming, the pressures on British businesses and consumers are only increasing. A freeze would help ease the uncertainty and disruption heading our way in 2019," said Beale.
“We are asking Philip Hammond to support British consumers, pubs and the wider hospitality trade by giving us a for a fair freeze for all.”
© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones03. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.