WSTA urges the Government to get behind British wine and spirits businesses

prpicwsta5 February 2013

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) is set to meet with Economic Secretary to the Treasury today (Tuesday), in its annual meeting ahead of the Budget in March, to make the case for an end to the punitive Alcohol Duty Escalator and offer closer cooperation to deliver deregulation and tackle fraud.

It believes that this approach is the key to realising the economic potential of the industry, including generating economic growth and creating jobs. The WSTA has also written to the Pubs Minister to request a meeting ahead of this year's Budget to highlight the importance of wine and spirits to the pubs sector. The Alcohol Duty Escalator, which applies equally to beer, cider, wine and spirits, is set to raise alcohol taxation by over 5% again this year. This would mean that since its introduction in 2008 wine duty will have increased by 50% and spirits duty by 44%.

Commenting on the meeting WSTA Chief Executive, Miles Beale, said:
"Few British businesses have been hampered as much as those in the wine and spirits sector over recent years. As if the current trading environment wasn't challenging enough, WSTA members have been buffeted by a combination of alcohol and fuel duty escalators, rising costs of raw materials and a regressive alcohol strategy that threatens suffocation by red tape."
"As we are facing a triple dip recession, the Treasury should be looking to ease the regulatory and tax burdens on an industry that already contributes some £16 billion to the public purse and supports close to 2 million jobs. We are calling on the Government to take a different approach and to encourage growth and job creation in the industry."

Commenting on the invitation to Brandon Lewis MP, the Minister for Community Pubs, Miles Beale added:

"We also want the pubs Minister to understand and recognise that the well-being of British pubs is at stake. Wine and Spirits account for 41% of the value of products sold in the on trade or some £9.4bn annually and are a vital component to the future of the pub industry. The clear message to Government is that any rise in alcohol taxation - on beer, cider wine or spirits - has an immediate and negative impact on a British industry with potential."


Further information:

- The alcohol duty escalator was introduced in 2008 and applies to beer, cider, wine and spirits equally. The escalator increase alcohol taxation by 2% above inflation each year and is set to continue until 2014/15;
- 41% of the value of alcohol sold in the on-trade is accounted for by Wines and Spirits according to the CGA Strategy MAT YA 01/10/2011 market data;
- The same data shows that wine accounts for 18% or £4.24bn and spirits 23% or £5.21bn of alcohol sold in the on-trade;
- According to the Office of National Statistics and HMRC data the increase in wine taxation since 2008 will be 50% and spirits 44% if the Chancellor presses ahead with a rise of 2% above inflation in the Budget this year;
- HMRC and Office of Budget Responsibility data shows that the alcohol industry will have contributed £10bn in alcohol duty and a further £6bn in VAT in 2012/13;

Notes to editors:

The WSTA is the UK lobbying organisation for the wine and spirit industry representing over 340 companies producing, importing, transporting and selling wines and spirits. We campaign to promote the industry's interests with governments at home and abroad.  We work with our members to promote the responsible production, marketing and sale of alcohol.

For more information please contact William Boyack:

Tel: 0207 0893 876

Email: [email protected]

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