England fans to be penalised before Six Nations kick off

BRITISH drinkers are paying four times the amount of alcohol duty than their French counterparts – enough to fund a return ticket to Paris, a bottle of wine to share between two, lunch and a ticket to the Eiffel Tower.

Rugby fans across the country heading to a pub or bar on Saturday to watch England take on France in the opening round of the Six Nations will be paying four times as much to the taxman in alcohol duty compared to their French counterparts, despite drinking less than the French.

This is due to the UK’s sky high rates of duty on alcohol. For example, wine in France is taxed at 20% whereas in the UK 57% of an average priced bottle of wine is accounted for by tax.

The average drinker in England pays £198.33 in alcohol tax per year compared to only £43.17 in France – more than four times as much!

If Brits were paying the equivalent amount of alcohol duty to the French then they would have an additional £155.17 in their pockets each year. One way to spend that would be a relaxing day-trip to the romantic capital of the world:

Eurostar Day Return: £69*

½ Bottle of Wine: £15

Lunch: £35 (including tip)**

Ticket to the Eiffel Tower: £12***

Postcard: £1

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

“I will be cheering on England this weekend but won’t be raising a toast to the taxman. It is scandalous that British drinkers wanting to watch the Six Nations at their local, or at home, are having to fork out four times as much alcohol duty than their French counterparts. British drinkers should be able to enjoy a drink at their local without being hit by a punitive super tax.”

The ‘Call Time on Duty’ campaign is calling on supporters of the campaign to email their local MP and ask that they write to the Chancellor through calling for the alcohol super tax to be scrapped in the upcoming Budget.

Facts and figures

- The Alcohol Duty Escalator increases duty on all alcohol products (expect beer since 2013) by 2% above inflation every year.  

- The wine and spirit industry directly or indirectly supported 475,000 jobs in the UK in 2012, with the majority (69%) directly dependent on the industry’s activity.

- In 2012/13, the wine and spirit industry directly or indirectly supported over £40bn of economic activity in the UK.

- In 2012, the wine and spirit industry contributed a total of £14.5bn to Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT).

- Employment in the wine and spirit industry is expected to increase by over 6,000 if the escalator is scrapped. (Ernst and Young 2013 )

*Dep 05.40, 27th Feb Return 20.13 27th Feb: Prices correct at at 30.01.14

** Menu du jour at Willis Wine Bar

*** EUR13.50 at


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