The Grapevine

The WSTA's views, distilled.

Quick Guide To The Autumn Budget

Quick Guide To The Autumn Budget


Following last year’s welcome freeze in alcohol duty, it is once again time for the Budget. This year, as was the case in 2017, the WSTA are calling on the Chancellor to show support for the wine and spirit industry and freeze alcohol duty. Here’s a quick guide on what to look out for during this year’s Budget.


What does the Chancellor currently have planned?

As set out in the Government’s policy paper on alcohol duty, which was released in March 2017:

The public finances assume that all alcohol duty rates rise by RPI each year. This measure aims to support the public finances by implementing the expected indexation of alcohol duty rates for the fiscal year 2017 to 2018.

Unless the Chancellor explicitly says otherwise, the current levels of alcohol duty are slated to rise based on the rate of RPI inflation, set to be around 3% every year up until 2022. You may remember March 2017, when Philip Hammond stated there were to be ‘no changes’ to the Government’s policy on alcohol duty – a rise was planned, nothing changed, and alcohol duty rates actually increased by 3.4%.

So unless you hear the words ‘freeze’ or ‘cut’, assume that the inflationary rise will take place. The WSTA will confirm any changes in our Budget Report, which will be sent out shortly after the Chancellor’s speech ends.


Why is the WSTA calling for a freeze?

The WSTA is calling on the Chancellor to freeze alcohol duty again, as he did last year. We’re pointing out that the latest HMRC data shows that, after the freeze last year, The Treasury raised an extra £270 million in following six months – an increase of 5%.


This month, we received independent analysis from EY, set out in a report we had commissioned, showing that the boost in economic activity if duty were frozen again would leave the wider economy better off, at no cost to the Treasury.


Put simply, a freeze leaves everybody better off – businesses, consumers, and the Treasury itself, and that is the case the WSTA will be making between now and the Budget.


How can we help?


WSTA members will recently have received an email from the WSTA setting out exactly how you can get involved, but to recap:

1. Writing to local MP – We have pulled together a draft template letter, to Members’ local MPs which highlights the impact of duty increases and asks them to champion our cause with the Chancellor. 

2. Sign a letter – We need WSTA members of all sizes and types to lend their names to joint letters we will be coordinating to the Chancellor and other Cabinet members.

3. Let us know the impact on your business – We are always looking for examples about the impact of duty increases on businesses, so that we can develop impactful case studies. For example duty bill as % of your turnover; no. of employees; block on export ambitions and so on. Let us know if you are happy to help with this type of information.

4. Support us on social media – Follow us on Twitter and connect with us on LinkedIn, where we will be posting using the #fairfreezeforall. Please feel free to retweet/share our posts and spread our Budget messaging.


For any further information or to get in touch about how you can get involved, please email the WSTA Budget team at [email protected]

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