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New WSTA chairman warns against duty rises

Published:  16 April, 2009

The new chairman of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association, Tim How, is warning further tax increases on alcohol in next week's Budget will force more businesses to cut back on jobs and investment.

How spoke out after being confirmed today as the new chairman at the WSTA's annual general meeting.

He said the latest industry figures confirm falling sales in both on and off-trades as consumers rein in spending. Despite the decline, next week's Budget is scheduled to introduce a 2% above inflation alcohol tax escalator, announced by the Chancellor last year.

How said:  "The last thing the industry and consumers need now is another tax increase which can only make matters worse in this difficult economic climate.

"I fear that further tax increases this year will lead to more cutbacks by businesses already struggling in the face of falling sales."

Tim How is the former Chief Executive of Majestic Wine.  He takes over from Christopher Carson who has been WSTA Chairman since April 2006.

Christopher Carson said: "It's been a privilege to help build industry support for the WSTA in the face of growing public policy challenges in recent years.  I am confident that Tim's experience in the business will continue to provide the industry with a strong voice."