Chancellor George Osborne has announced an inflationary increase for wine and given spirits a freeze in duty in his 2016 Budget. Once again wine gets the worst deal of all the alcoholic drinks as duty revenue is set to increase by 25% and spirits by 15% over the next four years. Wine drinkers will now pay an extra 3p taking duty paid on an average bottle of wine up to £2.08. For spirit drinkers the tax freeze means that the average 70cl bottle remains at £7.74. Wine tax will hit £4bn by the end of this year which will go up to £5bn in four years.

The revised rates are due to come into effect after midnight, Sunday 20th of March.

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

“We are pleased with the Chancellor’s decision to freeze spirits duty. The 26m spirits consumers will raise a glass to that tonight! “However, we are disappointed that that 30m wine consumers have been singled out for a duty rise and what’s more it is counterproductive. The freeze in wine duty in 2015 has resulted in £118m extra in revenue to the Treasury in the last 10 months, up 4%. Wine was the only alcoholic drink not to receive a cut and netted the Chancellor the most - which makes it very unfair that wine has been penalised. We also deeply regret that the Government has missed this important opportunity to support the emerging English wine industry, which is a real home-grown success story that needs nurturing rather than being hit by another unfair tax increase. The failure to rebalance this unfair tax burden on the wine industry will stifle the industry’s ability to invest, to sustain the 270,000 jobs it currently supports and to help British pubs, bars and restaurants where – at £4bn p.a. it makes a significant and fast growing contribution.”

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