WSTA make the case for a 2% cut in alcohol duty at meeting with Treasury

Wine and Spirit Trade Association outlines how the Government can help support a Great British Industry

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) is today meeting with the Treasury to present their 2015 Budget submission – which calls for a 2% cut in wine and spirits duty to help support growth, jobs and rebalance the economy.

The WSTA, on behalf of its 340 member companies who produce, import and sell wines and spirits in the UK, have set out in its submission what the Government can do to help it reach its full potential.

In a meeting with Priti Patel MP, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and senior Treasury officials, the WSTA will call on the Government to:

  • Support the industry and millions of its consumers by rebalancing the alcohol duty regime through a modest cut to duty of 2%, unlocking over £3bn in economic activity and £1.1bn of additional tax income;

  • Support the English wine industry by offering tax incentives to vineyards that invest in the long term future of the industry, give the industry the voice it deserves on the international stage and commit to using English wine in Government receptions;

  • Support the UK spirits industry by making it a trade and investment priority, protecting its interests in trade negotiations and offering tax incentives to micro distillers;

  • Support the pub and hospitality sector by working with industry to help build the skills of the workforce, continue to appoint a pubs minister and continue to work collaboratively with the industry;

  • Continue to invest resources to tackle alcohol related fraud, including continuing the anti-fraud taskforce and give alcohol related fraud a higher priority.

The UK wine and spirits industry is worth nearly £45bn in terms of economic activity to the UK and generates £14.5bn in tax revenue for the Treasury. The industry supports 600,000 jobs in the UK and makes a vital contribution to the British pub and wider hospitality industry, contributing £5.4bn to pubs directly and a further £7.5bn to restaurants and hotels. The UK wine and spirits industry create some of the world’s iconic brands which are exported all around the world, and our fledgling English wine industry is competing with the best in the world.

There are 30 million consumers of wine and spirits in the UK. These consumers currently pay nearly 60% tax on an average priced bottle of wine and nearly 80% on a bottle of spirits. Recent polling from the WSTA found that 64% of consumers think this is too high.

WSTA Chief Executive Miles Beale said:

“Despite the fantastic contribution the UK wine and spirits industry makes to the Treasury, we have still faced a difficult climate in recent years. Sales and consumption in the UK has been in decline and the impact of seven years of the Alcohol Duty Escalator has taken its toll on producers and retailers, who have seen their margins squeezed, and on consumers who have seen prices rise higher than inflation as a result.

“The Government’s Budget, presented by the Chancellor this year, will therefore have a profound impact. Not just on the wine and spirits industry but the workers within it, the taxation the Government brings in and the tens of millions of consumers we ultimately serve.

“This is why I am extremely excited about today’s opportunity to outline our 2015 Budget submission. This submission looks to set out the facts about the industry including the economic, social and fiscal contribution it makes to the UK. It outlines what the Government can do to help the industry reach its full potential by growing and creating jobs and what is being done to ensure that alcohol is being produced, sold and consumed responsibly”.

The Wine and Spirits Trade Association’s Budget Submission 2015 ‘Supporting a Great British Industry’ can be found here:

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