WSTA wins new award for ‘Drop the Duty!’ campaign

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association picked up the ‘Trade Body Campaign of the Year’ award at this year's Public Affairs Awards for our 2015 'Drop the Duty!' Budget campaign.

Sky News’ Adam Boulton presented the award for excellence in public affairs recognising the huge success of our campaign, which achieved the best Budget result for the wine and spirit industry in almost 20 years. 

Duty on spirits was cut by 2% whilst wine duty was frozen, marking a significant improvement from previous Budgets.

In conjunction with its agency MHP Communications, the WSTA delivered a campaign that used a combination of independent economic research, a dedicated website and national and trade media to drive individual constituents to write to their MP and urge Chancellor George Osborne to cut excise duty. 

We gathered cross industry support from other trade associations and industry bodies to make the case for a cut in alcohol duty, with everyone from major drinks producers to small English wine producers and distillers lending their support.

WSTA MHP Public affairs award 2015

Whilst this award has recognised the success and creativity of the ‘Drop the Duty!' campaign, the Chancellor’s decision to cut spirits duty and freeze wine duty demonstrated his commitment to a growing industry here in the UK. 

And his decision to cut the duty has helped deliver an ever more prosperous wine and spirits sector in the UK.

In addition to the £175m boost to the trade flowing from 2014’s abolition of the Alcohol Duty Escalator, it is estimated that the industry stands to benefit by £100m from the latest changes.

Most impressively, this fantastic result for the industry has come at no cost to the Chancellor. 

In fact, the latest HMRC figures show that alcohol duty income is around £146m greater in the six months from April to September than during the same period last year. At this rate, wine duties could hit £4bn for the financial year 2015/16 for the first time.


Miles Beale, Chief Executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association said: 

“We are delighted to have won such a prestigious award. We are immensely proud of the ‘Drop the Duty!’ campaign, so to have this work recognised by the Public Affairs Awards is fantastic – not least because we were competing with great trade bodies from so many industries.

“Most importantly, we are proud of the best Budget result for the industry in almost two decades, and the vast benefits that this result has already delivered for the wine and spirit sector.

"Because the Chancellor was right to listen! New HMRC figures show the positive impact a duty cut has had for the wider economy – including the Treasury’s coffers!

“And we hope it’s the start of a new attitude to a great British industry. Duty rates on wine and spirits remain notoriously high in comparison with our European counterparts – with almost 40% of all alcohol duty collected across 28 EU Member States collected here in the UK. 

"This is unfair on British consumers and damages great British businesses, especially micro businesses and SMEs. We hope to see the Chancellor build on this success by continuing to redress such a gross imbalance with another 2% excise duty cut in March 2016. 

"There are further far-reaching benefits to be gained by another duty cut – for consmers, for the public finances and for all those businesses – large and small – in our great and growing British wine and spirit industry.”


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