WSTA slams inflation busting tax hikes on wines and spirits

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association has today condemned the Chancellor for pushing ahead with inflation busting alcohol tax rises on wines and spirits for the fifth year in a row, through the much hated 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. This comes despite many consumers struggling with stagnating wages and the rising cost of living.

Commenting on the Budget, 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.”


Notes to Editors:

Duty increases:

• Duty on a 750ml bottle of wine is now £2 up by 10p

• Duty on a 70cl bottle of vodka at 37.5% is now £7.41 up by 37p

• Duty on a litre bottle of vodka at 37.5% is now £10.58 up by 53p

• Duty on a 70cl Bottle of gin at 40% is now £7.90 39p

• Duty on a litre bottle of gin at 40% is now £11.29p up by 57p

Additional VAT

If this cost were to be passed on directly to the price the addition VAT would be:

Wine at 750ml – 2p

Vodka 37.5% at 70cl -7.4p

Vodka 37.5% at 1ltr – 10.6p

Gin 40% at 70cl - 7.8p

Gin 40% at 1ltr –  11p

RPI Inflation:

For the purposes of Alcohol Duty the Government work out RPI inflation as the average of the RPI six months prior to the budget and the six months after the budget.

For full details go to the Budget reports here:

The WSTA is the UK 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 Aileen Keyes:

Tel:         +44 (0) 20 7089 3881

Mob:     +44 (0) 7504 498 656

Email:    [email protected]

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